Will WikiLeaks Have Its “Social Network?”
The stories intertwine on the point of personality: is Mark Zuckerberg a genius? Is Julian Assange? At what point does (at least in Aaron Sorkin’s vision of the Facebook founder, now immortalized by David Fincher’s film) the irony of someone socially maladroit creating the ultimate social network remind us of someone diplomatically maladroit creating the ultimate diplomatic resource—or scandal, depending on where you sit to see the show. When future films are made, or books written, about this past year in the life of WikiLeaks, will comparisons be drawn between what one entrepreneur made of the Internet when it came to socializing and what another made when it came to secrecy and intelligence?
Assange and Zuckerberg don’t share a nationality, or even a generation, but they share that classic revolutionary zeal, zeal historically—more often than not—coupled with a shot of insanity. We cannot blame our innovators, even as we endlessly parse their more morally tenuous creations. We cannot blame them; we use their cool tools as we will.
As if by planned synergy, the back-page essay in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, “C.I.A. Agents, Blowing Their Own Cover,” focused on works by former members of the intelligence community, and on how rules against disclosure within that world that have broken down. Alex Berenson writes:
It used to be rare for C.I.A. employees to recount their exploits, or grievances, in print. Now, they’re over sharing as eagerly as the cast of “Jersey Shore.” I’ve written five C.I.A.-related thrillers since 2005. Along the way, I’ve read more than my share of books by insiders, seeking hints of how the agency works — and doesn’t. The books make for fascinating, disturbing reading. Collectively, they shine a bright light on the agency’s darkest secret of all, its inability to do its job at the most basic level.
This is not the OSS.
Mark Zuckerberg’s creation appeals equally to teenagers and politicians: reach out, be heard, raise funds, slam your ex. Julian Assange has given the world something similarly rooted in technology but vastly more sophisticated and more sinister in intent: a weapon for flooding media channels, indiscriminately, with erstwhile “privileged” information. “They have blood on their hands,” former CIA Director James Woolsey told MSNBC. This is not something anyone would say of Mark Zuckerberg.
Still, the story.The story of WikiLeaks is seductive for future Aaron Sorkins because it begins with an excellent thematic cocktail: character flaw, plus drive. Whether that drive is to perform a public service or to gain fame doesn’t matter in the end. Assange, like Zuckerberg, will make enemies in exactly the world he hoped to change, and perhaps the world he hoped to inhabit. (Porcellian; Davos.) If the State Department succeeds in divining ways to stop Assange's spread, they still will have not killed what he represents—the human fascination with sense of purpose, lack of fear, and an Achilles heel which has been the necessary handmaiden to history: hubris.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Upload your mind? Here's a reality check on the Singularity.
- Though computer engineers claim to know what human consciousness is, many neuroscientists say that we're nowhere close to understanding what it is, or its source.
- Scientists are currently trying to upload human minds to silicon chips, or re-create consciousness with algorithms, but this may be hubristic because we still know so little about what it means to be human.
- Is transhumanism a journey forward or an escape from reality?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.