I had this thought the other day that, given the way a lot of modern human behavior (at least in the US) is driven by social media, you could almost imagine the mechanisms that direct that behavior as a library or module (in computer programming parlance).

Imagine your code having a simple import/include statement to access the various methods or functions available in this human behavior library. You’d have time-tested methods like anger(), jealousy(), greed(), shame(), etc. More modern methods such as go_viral() and cancel(). More complex ones like set_opinion(issue, strength), hive_sentiment(entity, strength), and set_allegiance(entity, strength). Stuff like that.

With this simple library, you can program the masses. Instead of directing little electrons and silicon gates, you instead direct swaths of populace. Want everyone to suddenly like Wendys’ new Fruity Pebbles Frosty?

hive_sentiment(fbFrosty, 10)


Define public opinion, create a run on products, cancel someone; as easy as a few lines of code. Now imagine that there are numerous people doing this with their own little scripts, pushing and pulling and working the puppet strings. Obviously the one with the widest reach or the greatest compute resources has the most influence.

I don’t think this is far from what modern social media is like.

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