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The relationship between technology and social control in the Corona pandemic

I had a chat with some lawyer friends about being interviewed about Corona and technology, and it got a bit interesting.


San Francisco leaders have announced the nation's most rigid restrictions on unvaccinated people, banning them from eating indoors and attending bars, nightclubs, gyms, large concerts, theatres and other indoor events. The new rule, which goes into effect on August 20, also applies to people who can prove they have tested negative for coronavirus. City employees and restaurant and bar workers will be given a grace period.


Reasonable restrictions make sense and are for a good reason, and no system is perfect and never will be (there's a lot of subjectivity in that), but the whole thing is a bit too 1984-conscious.


This could be an opportunity for any government to implement 1984, as China has done. A Swedish friend told me that he was pleased to see the introduction of official electronic money in Sweden (in any case, whenever I visited Sweden, I did most transactions with credit cards). The logic is that cash will infect COVIDs, so electronic money is cleaner. This means that the government can keep track of all transactions and the black market no longer exists. A government can apply this logic to many policies, so others may also create a control policy?


I fear that if things become too centralised and controlled, innovation and entrepreneurship will be restricted. Yes, there is chaos in the free market, and it can be unfair, but excessive central control is even worse. Papuan farms have become more attractive, and studies of the 1972 collapse of MIT civilisation have once again appeared in the media. The problem is that the restraint of technology is largely governed by laws that cannot keep up with changing circumstances.


Bali still inspires your philosophical thinking from the 3,000-year-old Indian epic, the Mahabharata. A celestial being asks a nobleman, "What is the most amazing thing in the world?" The nobleman replies, " Man sees countless people die every day, and yet he acts and thinks as if he will live forever."

The fundamental flaw in man seems to be the inevitable result of natural selection. Man has survived and prospered because he has always sought to improve and created new tools. That worked well when the devices were shovels and printing presses, and that is what modern medicine is all about. But our drive to create is not accompanied by a brake. So when we invent a gun or a bomb or even a nuclear bomb, the brakes do not work. The drive to ride the most impossible and dangerous waves creates the most potent IT, guns, robots, bacteria and viruses. We can then develop the tools to deal with the adverse effects of those tools. But they are so fast and far-reaching that the gap between inventing the tools and getting them into the hands of stupid people and controlling them is too significant a task. There is always a gap between arming the stupid with new inventions and developing the consensus and power to deal with them. What happens in that gap used to be a lot of people killed by knives and spears, but now it can be a whole planet affected.


Whatever we do - printing, knives, nuclear - there is always a bright side with a dark side. And so far, on a macro scale, the world has been better off, except for environmental destruction (in any case, we are always anthropocentric). We need to continue in this way.

Having said that, I agree with the consequences of each technology and crazy people that have happened so far, but it does not seem to be in human nature to go back to nature. If controlling people the way the Chinese government does is not what we want, what solutions are there? One would be to move faster with better technology, and another would be teaching ethics and philosophy to prevent people from working against society.

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