Re: Open note to Gracie Mae Bradley
'The opportunity to oppose computerised collation of data, if ever there was one, passed by long ago. What we must try to do now is to ensure that the technology is used wisely.'
Fat chance of that. Throughout history, in just about every culture and society of which I'm aware, the primary aim of the oligarchy/ruling class/governing elite/aristocracy/call it what you will/ has been to preserve its position, and that of its children, in the social order. It has always used whatever means it can get away with to do this.
Digital data and its *cheap* collection, retention and analysis, offer contemporary oligarchies powers to preserve themselves undreamed of (well, unavailable to) 20C dictators. Of course these oligarchies will use them. Why wouldn't they?
Almost all human societies are, and have always been, oligarchic. It's our default state; there's no point in railing against it. The problems really stem from oligarchies that have become ossified, introverted, self-seeking, and overly detached from the rest of the population. Right now this is an accurate description of the Westminster bubble, the Washington bubble, the Brussels bubble, and pretty well most Western ruling classes. Hence Brexit and Trump.
What we need are reliable, consistent ways to refresh our oligarchies, so that revolutions are not required to refresh them. Social mobility, in other words, and in *both* directions.
Don't look to me for ideas about how to achieve this.