Conspiracy Theorists (CT), This One Is For You: Though Nearly All of Your Conspiracy Theories are Just Foolish Half-Baked Ideas
I am not a conspiracy theorist. However, I am aware some conspiracies factually do occur. With that said, I believe the 5G conspiracy theorists (CT) are right. But the CT are right about the wrong thing. 5G has zero connection to the spread of COVID-19. Did I really need to write that? OK, this is except for the fact that the “sheep” (who think everyone else out there are sheep) bashing 5G towers probably need to have now, more than ever, the best communication systems they can possibly have available to them (so they can flock with other sheep of course). Still, 5G technology is only going to add to the rate of which the pandemic of misinformation will be spread around the globe.
With scores of celebrities and their followers locked in their respective homes, they are now finding themselves with an efficient platform to amplify their dubious messages due to more “captive” audiences spending far more time on social media. People are right now more able than ever to find and regurgitate their favorite celebrity musings on all sorts of things for which said celebrities are not exactly considered experts.
So while I am not following Woody Harrelson’s beliefs on 5G being connected in any way to this Coronavirus, I do realize millions of others do—and will continue to do so—as it becomes increasingly easier for them to consume these types of dangerous beliefs. Reports of CT running up on hospitals trying to use their phones to take photos of what they believe will be half-empty hospitals “claiming” to be out of space and PPE are infuriating health workers everywhere. However, most are too busy saving our lives with home-made masks to be reposting arguments concerning the validity of their bed occupancy rates.
But, and I hate to say this because its nearly never true, where the 5G conspiracy theorists are right is that 5G and big brother do go hand in hand (and are hopefully sanitized). In fact, “Big Bro” will be watching and listening to us with greater ease than ever before once we are truly all tied to the internet of things (IoT), which 5G is quickly making possible. By big brother, I of course mean big data—and big data is exemplified by Google! I think many of us know big bro Google is watching our every move but, much like a nice sports car, we often don’t want to admit when we hear those knocks and pings coming from under the hood. We just get so comfortable with the efficiency of the smooth ride it consistently provides that we dread looking under the hood due to our well-placed fear that it is concealing something at a potentially high cost to us that we don’t even want to know about.
So let me be play the role of the privileged, albeit extremely small-scaled pseudo-celebrity, “expert” on something–data analysis, numbers, and statistical realities. However, in my case, I do have a background on a good deal of these interrelated topics, so bear with me and my privilege. In 2013, I put out an album, Put Em All To Shame, which was accompanied by a 200 page book, Put Em All To Shame (The Curriculum), to go along with it. In the book, I wrote the following on page 163 regarding the topic of big data and big brother:
“This is not conspiracy, this is not evil, and this is not hidden. This is all out there in the open. These are the current rules of the game. But what has happened is there is so much entertainment and reality now instantaneously available that we are too busy to pay attention to something not quite as amusing as many of the poor souls who masquerade as “stars” on short-run, cash-cow, reality shows (like I discussed in “Obvious”). Hop on the website of GE to see what they own and how they make a substantial amount of their billions, and how they plan to in the future—you may be surprised. The electric light bulb and the electric locomotive were both products by GE’s founder—Edison. The large sum of money GE makes from its capital and financing operations is staggering. Some have no idea that GE is also a huge supplier of military engines, and continues to look to profit from heavy investment in fracking. Additionally, GE intends to capture some of the massive potential market generated by analysis of sensor data, in combination with what it already pulls in from using analytics to optimize performance through automation and predictive technologies helping to determine if a component has the potential to fail. GE’s investment into what it calls the “industrial internet” relies on IT vendors such as Google and Facebook to keep building and harvesting the consumer data pool” (Lyrical, 2013).
Google is clearly very aware of who you are, and it is way deeper than you may have thought. I like to think of searching for something on Google like putting a credit card in a slot machine and pulling the lever (or pressing the button) and hoping you win. You don’t win too often, but the house sure does—and long term, it always wins! Let’s stay with that analogy, but also understand that right now Google knows much more about you than the casino–but that may start to change with the advent of 5G as well.
With 5G, information will be available on demand at an instant. There are of course pros and cons to the technology, but ultimately business efficiency will increase and so too will profits for those who continue to control and exploit the various factors of production, including the transmission of information. For instance, imagine if facial recognition software was activated when you entered the casino to know what machines should be promoted directly to you as you walk by based on your past results (and also imagine the benefit if you had access to this data about you as well). Or, better yet, imagine if as soon as you walked in the casino facial recognition software was activated to know what machines should be promoted directly to you on digital advertising platforms as you enter and walk by (think Minority Report). This is essentially what is going on with Google—they are the ones providing those creepy ads that pop up on other websites based on searches you did before.
Come on, you had to know that was true, right? It does this by placing these little sentinel-like trackers on the vast majority of websites worthy of following. Google has also saved every search you have done in your life and keeps it all stored in a nice little file titled “ALL ABOUT YOU.” This is the definition of a big bro if there ever was one. Of course, this is exactly what is happening with all those self-help videos we all look up on the Google owned YouTube!
All those conspiracy videos you follow, well guess what…they are creating the real conspiracy! Google and YouTube are, of course, predicting/deciding which videos you will watch after Proof Justin Bieber is a Reptilian Alien. They next use algorithms to align the world around you to feel more and more like the conspiracy theory is true—except this isn’t being done in secret, you just don’t want to look under the hood to acknowledge what your senses have already been telling you. Isn’t it odd you are now starting to believe everything is a conspiracy, and can there really be that many? It isn’t that deep, but at the same time it is.
You are effectively being watched and set up to believe in what you believe with greater reinforcement, partly based on the fact that you showed some sort of interest in it to begin with. Your friends can all see it, but you can’t. You are suddenly not the one invited out to actual social events, because you start talking like a lunatic about how nobody but you can see it. Ironically, everyone but you can see it!
Looking up herbal remedies, healing crystals and zinc? Then maybe Google believes you are suffering from COVID-19 with a lack of faith in traditional medicine (also a sign you are deep down the bunny hole of conspiracy theory) or believes you’re about to be out of a job and without proper health care. Signing up for that discount at CVS? In addition to killing a tree each time you leave when they print you a mile long receipt, it is pretty easy to triangulate a few facts about you and your current state of health. Combine that with a stop for fast food, and quickly a host of predictive assumptions can be made about you—that more often than not—will be true. Now just like that casino analogy, our big bro (big data) is stacking the deck and betting against you every time.
You can look all of this up for yourself if you really read and search the fine print of Google. In the data security settings, you can even check out every video you have ever commented on in your life on YouTube with all of the links to the videos and the date and time stamps right there for you to see. Every photo you have ever taken, well that is if you are like me and have a Samsung or any other Android device, is all saved forever! By the way, aren’t big brothers generally supposed to be looking out for us, protecting us from bullies, and not selling off our information to the highest bidding neighbor on the block? Maybe that is the analogy that needs to be changed; instead of big brother, perhaps big informant (or snitch) is what it really is. Sounds more like a little brother to me.
For kicks, try out the facial recognition software that Google already has embedded into its Android platform. Really creepy stuff! I will type in something like “turntable” and it will pull up every turntable seen in every photo that I have ever taken. How does it even know what a turntable is? This is not to mention that Google Maps is also tracking all of your moves, and even when your phone is in airplane mode, your movement is still being tracked fairly efficiently. And don’t even get me started about the Google Earth and the Google employees in cars out there photographing every square inch of the Earth (which I am sure will soon be self-driving Google cars doing the filming).
Speaking of pictures, let’s get back to the ones you and I are taking and storing in the cloud. Google also files and scans every picture of my son, for instance, by his face—almost no matter how far in the background he may be in a given picture. For example, our son already plays several sports. In his team pictures, he may be far in the background but Google includes this photo into a huge set of pictures we have ever taken of him. They will also find a picture of a teammate in that picture and then at a birthday party they both attended and, sure enough, some other random little kid’s photo is now sorted and filed into the platform—yeah it really is that creepy.
When you stop and consider this is happening to photos of you and your kids in the background of other people’s photos, the result is an incredible mapping of us and all of our likes, tendencies, and beliefs which are all regurgitated back to us in the form of targeted advertising. We don’t even post our son’s photo directly via social media, but I am also sure it is not too hard for Google to use its predictive tech to ascertain the photo of the child we have saved 1000 times in our Google Photos file is likely him. Surely, they can easily cross-reference random images of him as they inevitably occur out there when his face is captured on one of the billions of cameras in existence. Our kids and families are casualties in this big data advertising war, even if they never signed up for it.
This all begs the question of why does their need to be a conspiracy theory which worries about chips in vaccine’s if companies like Google can already follow us near perfectly? Why would someone need to create a man-made virus to control us and track our movements if it’s already being done every day? Our 4G phones (and under) have already been doing a great job of tracking us for years. We don’t need a tracker in our body because we don’t let our devices out of our sight! Soon, with the prevalence of IoT rapidly expanding via 5G, the internet will be ever-present and Google’s tracking will only be at most a click away—even if we leave our own device at home.
Yes, with every bit of information about ourselves we feed into Google, let alone the scores of selfies and information we willingly poor into social media, we are doing all the work any spy could ever do—far more efficiently and cheaply. Of course, signing over all of our data rights each time we click onto a site gets easier and easier, and of course our data will be repackaged and sold in some capacity. In addition, with over 2.5 billion subscribers to 5G currently predicted within the next five years, and with connectivity and download speeds that literally dwarf 4G, it is easy to see how irresistible it will become to be connected and how our data will be even more available to anyone with a desire to acquire it.
Spoiler Alert: Didn’t everyone in Westworld know that the company that could make startling real-life humanoids was probably using AI to also track every move the real humans on the outside were making and that they would continue to profit from it in ways that hadn’t even been thought up at the time?
No longer is there a need for any secret society or big conspiracy. It’s all right there in the open and we sign away our privacy with greater ease every day. It can also be mitigated with a few extra clicks in our settings, but the house is gambling (correctly) that most of us won’t bother. Now with all of that said, “Google me,” share this, and “follow me” on social media.