Should information be governed?

By Marc Ansoult

Let’s consider that information is a sensory stimulus that can be memorized, and that, put together with other memories, can influence a person’s behaviour. Tom Clancy (1947-2013) spoke of it as follows:

The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government. Information, Knowledge is power. If you can control information, you can control people.

The subject is of course still very actual and will be for a long time. Let us think about

  • personal data collected through web browsing, which is a form of our memory, their marketing and their use in e-commerce,
  • the influence of lobbies on information provided about societal issues such as climate change and health risks associated with the use of certain chemicals,
  • the fact that governments wish to keep control over the data of their citizens and organisations (eg data sovereignty) and that the EU votes the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Information is an asset, and as in the same way as other assets, it can be valued, exchanged, used, and it influences those who are related to it. It is the asset of the century, the one of digital transformation, the one which accompanies robotisation and which makes the revolution of artificial intelligence possible. In the context of economic liberalism, it is possible to freely market this information asset within the framework of contracts.

We are therefore increasingly flooded with news, white papers, webinars, tweets, posts, videos, while being constantly interrupted by beeps from our smartphones; and some already imagine being transplanted with digital add-ons. Today our heads are in our screens waiting for virtual reality glasses, and we need wifi as much as water.

Yet Jung said that the answer lied in silence…

It took two centuries of industrialisation to discover that our soils, aquifers, rivers, oceans and air were polluted, and it took another quarter of a century since the Rio conference in 1992 to come to a global climate governance with the Cop21 agreement. Are we going to let our environment be polluted again by the new digital revolution, to find out one day that our colleagues and friends are acting as robots polluted with downloaded opinions and are completely disconnected from the realities of our world? Should intergovernmental conferences be held urgently to manage the effects of this digital pollution?

Our senses are not to be treated as a free exchange platform of information whatever their quality, whatever their quantity. Our senses are like our earth, we harvest what we sow. Our senses are to be respected and protected.

Information is definitely to be governed!

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