Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Share this! 

Game of the Internet

By Less

Bend the knee!

Technology is the last “God who did not fail.” 

Lawrence E. Page —CEO of Google Inc.—, Mark Zuckerberg —CEO of Facebook Company— and Satoshi Nakamoto — a pseudonym for the creators of Bitcoin — crowned. They are the new messiahs. Their masterpieces are simply worth admiring. If Sansa Stark – of Game of Thrones – had been reborn, the cause and effect of her wet dreams would correspond to the big ones of the net. No Joffrey or seven kingdoms! Killers of truth and lies, of calm and anxiety, of ego and vanity: Page, Zuckerberg, Satoshi hip-hip! 

Blessed are the creators of the most brutal social, economic and political engineering of our current communication system: the Internet.

King in the Internet! That is the throne that is at stake, which everyone wants to occupy. The Internet legitimizes or destroys it. It is not easy to stay afloat within the network. It makes you  his/her master and servant at the same time.

We are true pagans of the Web and its platforms.

The feats of the human race were tamed. They are not measured by brute force or intellect. Who reaches the highest ratings in views, likes, followers, becomes a legend. There is no way going back: if you do not appear on Google, you do not exist or you are certainly are a ghost, a hacker, a troll, some rebel of the Matrix, aware of the space that subverts and annihilated it. You are – for the purposes – a dissident.

The Internet is coming! 

You are under the influence of the methodical behaviorism of the Internet. You are absorbed by the dopamine chutes of the notifications. You can’t control it, don’t resist. Those tones activate neurotransmitters in your system. Something similar to the experiences collected by the conductivism pioneers Skinner and Pàvlov experiments with their pets, such as adopting a dog to eat whenever the bell rang, who eventually salivated just by listening to it.

The algorithms of social media modify your behavior through symbols and addictive patterns of pleasure and reward. They are basically translated into figures. They can be summed up in the number of followers of  @kimkardashian (the influencer ) or @bikinifree (the possible influencer ) account. Self-centeredness was launched to the digital market and is available to everyone (or so they have led us to believe). Behavior, to a greater or lesser extent, is governed by popularity. Unfortunately, it is already a strongly advocated lifestyle. Similar to the fury of reggaeton and its most current version, trap. 

White walkers

A new governance crisis has emerged. Applicants and social media practitioners launch themselves into a unique global competition. Behavior modified and converted into a rental empire as it becomes difficult to maintain income — a better bidder always appears. A problem called INCORDIO. (According to Jaron Lanier in Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Account Right Now (2018), INCORDIO is the statistical machine that lives in computing clouds, a type of business plan that generates perverse incentives and corrupts people). 

Next, its statutes:

  1. The domain of attention 
  2. Vulture in the life of everyone
  3. Aggressive content manufacturing 
  4. The manipulation of people’s behavior in the most sibylline way. 
  5. The sneaky hoax 
  6. False crowds or communities
  7. The show of power

The big tech houses like FB and Google depend on the statistics of INCORDIO, other giants like Microsoft, Amazon and Apple, turn to it occasionally. It is an easily distinguishable problem. The platforms have, as if it were Bollywood, a remarkable cinematographic and acting inflation . The extras – of course – are vital: they are the cases of imageboard like Reedit and 4chan (anonymous communities linked to subcultures and Internet activism. Responsible for the creation and popularization of memes), favoring the accumulation of “white walkers”.

We are victims of invisible social vandalism. The influence on human psychology and behavior is artificially manufactured in these communities. I do not refer to personal assistants such as SIRI (application with personal assistant functions for iOS, whose operation is based on Artificial Intelligence), but to the collection of spooky entities or “white walkers”: bots, Artificial Intelligence, fake friends, fake followers, false publications and automated profiles. 

Important: I mean with fake profile or bots a fraud produced in mass with the intention of manipulating, not the adolescent attempt to camouflage, investigate and beat up opponents creating a fake profile on FB or Instagram (see @ sofia.hernández , antagonistic profile by Luis Manuel Otero and the 00 Havana Biennial ).

In the territory of INCORDIO any small comment from “the walkers” bid. It becomes a race for total annulment and personal destruction or, quite the contrary makes the world sympathizingly fake. 

According to an article in The New York Times , at the beginning of 2018 the price of accounts or fake people on Twitter amounted to $ 225 for the first 25 thousand fake followers. The bots can generate a storm of publications waste ( shitpots ) to achieve what could not be achieved through advertisements. 

Fake accounts are retweeted by a legion of bots. They are a cultural attack powered by hackers that encourage a bombardment of websites with such data traffic that no real person can access it. 

The Day Before Trump 

Curiously, the color orange is fashionable, it is the new pink or the new blue. If the tone appeals to you or not, it is not of real importance, because as it wishes it transcends. It is what happens with tastes or preferences, they cause controversies (at least in social networks). The hue is no longer compared to a beautiful sunset. Bergamot tastes like Donald Trump. The user king of social media addicts. The triggering lord of the traumatic fascist and phobic comments. The precursor of the term NPC in the annals of the Internet (specifically Twitter). 

Trump has transformed the competition into waves of destructive tweets and, consequently, remarkable. Who completely devastated another person or received kind treatment in exchange for their absolute loyalty prevails, even if only for thousandths of a second (See @kanyewest on Twitter).  

Are you an NPC? : Non-Playable Character, the show.

The 4chan chain “Are you an NPC?”, initiated by an anonymous user on a video game board (July, 2016), triggered the trolling campaign on the social media Twitter. As part of a fake maneuver, with slogans and call to action , in relation to the presidential elections in the United States, the NPC accounts (pro and againt Trump /democrats, liberals, republicans) were intentionally propagated with more than 1500 bots in the platform.

The term NPC (Non-Playable Character, Non-Playable Character, in Spanish) originally comes from the gamers community. It refers to a role within video games controlled by AI or codes. On Twitter, it was adjusted to people who autonomously followed the group’s social tendencies and thoughts. In 2018, it prevailed as the flagship meme of the ideological campaign in the digital kingdom. It was a war that had been embraced by hordes of trolls dressed in gray skins of political adversaries. (Gray because the meme consisted of a gray face, a modification of the Wojak meme, used to express regret or melancholy).

A significant fact that favored its growing reception was the strategy of Alex Jones (recently blocked on FB, YouTube and Spotify), spokesperson for conspiracy theories of the American extreme right, who offered $ 10,000 to the most original meme.

After the campaign of the international political movement of Afro-descendants # Black Lives Matter (2013) in social networks, NPC has been the campaign battle in the digital field, more destructive and humanly lacerating. The meme evidenced the political polarization and dehumanization of social networks. His implosion expressed another social tendency: “cut and paste” criteria openly.

In keeping with this fact and taking into account the recent social opening to the Internet in Cuba, during the XIII Havana Biennial the collective exhibition NPC: Non Playable Character was held , in Fanguito eStudio, a space managed by the artist Rodolfo Peraza . You probably were not aware of the event. It is currently not important if you are at least reading this. Other valuable projects happened and also went unnoticed. A letter that we keep to this Biennial.

The list of participating artists was headed by Vuk Cosic (Slovenia, founding father of the net.art movement), Yucef Merhi (Venezuela, pioneer of net.art), Hamilton Mestizo (Colombia, new media artist focused on the intersections between biology and technology), Christian Oyarzún (Chile, net.art, linked to the Cyberpunk culture), Nina Coulson (United Kingdom, net.art) Diletante Digital (Cuba, website dedicated to Internet culture), Filio Gálvez (Cuba, net.art), Rewell Altunaga (Cuba, pioneer Game Art in Cuba), Naivy Pérez (Cuba, net.art), the Serones duo (Cuba, net.art, game-art), Rodolfo Peraza (Cuba, pioneer new media , game-art, net.art).

Works at NPC … explored how the culture of video games and the Internet has radically modified politics, information, and art currently, especially in its production, distribution, and reception. They referred to emerging digital communities and the Internet as a surveillance site, ideological battles and resistance policies, the circulation, and control of false news and lost information. 

NPC … did not intend to place itself under the broad umbrella of “new media show”, it had a frank purpose. It made clear the founding slogan of the net.art movement: “Art was a substitute for the Internet” (See Art was a substitute for the Internet.) See Vuk Cosic: Defining net.art. Net art Painters and Poets (2014). ), on the internet anything goes, its platforms (social networks) are a reflection of human nature. A meritorious show if cultural alienation levels are taken into account concerning digitized public space in Cuba.

Now that our politicians and war correspondents have moved to FB, Instagram, and Twitter, as they are aware of what is going on there, you are obliged to be aware and attune to their operating dynamics. Take advantage of the space that “free” Zuckerberg and his friends have provided. 

Belong, be a zombie, an NPC or an idiot

Originally published by Hypermedia Magazine
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Share this!