Statement to the World Socialist Web Site webinar
Julian Assange calls effort of corporations to control Internet discourse “an existential threat to humanity”
18 January 2018
The following statement was sent by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the January 16 webinar Organizing Resistance to Internet Censorship, featuring journalist Chris Hedges and WSWS Chairperson David North. Assange sent the statement from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been trapped for five and a half years. (See today's report on the webinar here)
The future of humanity is the struggle between humans that control machines and machines that control humans. Between the democratization of communication and usurpation of communication by artificial intelligence.
While the internet has brought about a revolution in people’s ability to educate themselves and others, the resulting democratic phenomena has shaken existing establishments to their core. Google, Facebook and their Chinese equivalents, who are socially, logistically and financially integrated with existing elites, have moved to re-establish discourse control. This is not simply a corrective action. Undetectable mass social influence powered by artificial intelligence is an existential threat to humanity.
While still in its infancy, the trends are clear and of a geometric nature. The phenomena differs in traditional attempts to shape cultural and political phenomena by operating at scale, speed and increasingly at a subtlety that eclipses human capacities.
I commend WSWS for drawing attention to this phenomena.