Sensemaking from the narratives: the world goes BOOM in the last week of May 2020
History in the making or a magician's sleight of hand?
This week feels like we’ve lived through a whole year’s worth of major global events in 7 days. Is this actually history in the making, or a magician’s sleight of hand, misdirecting attention from the real trick?
Fundamentally: it’s impossible for a human brain to adequately sensemake from the volume and velocity of narratives we’ve been exposed to this week. Besides, the arcs of each story are still very much in the air. Below I attempt to pull together the main threads (mostly absorbed via mainstream media websites and Twitter) which have been at the top of my consciousness this last week...
Trump rattled his cage and signed a (legally fraught) executive order to remove social media companies’ privileges. Boston University Law Professor Tiffany Li is quoted:
“If I'm reading this correctly, the EO claims tech platforms are doing something they're not, in violation of an incorrect interpretation of law, and tasks agencies it can't task to look into the things that aren't being done that wouldn't be wrong”
Meanwhile the Tech Bros start calling for decentralised content moderation systems (see Truth and the Underlay in Memia 2020.17):
Balaji S. Srinivasan @balajisIt shouldn’t be tech companies per se getting into fact checking. It should be open source technology. Free, universally available code and data for epistemology. Take a piece of text, parse it, extract assertions, compare to explicitly specified knowledge graphs and oracles. https://t.co/gDOEmZn7S4
Then…the murder of black Minneapolis man George Floyd by a white police officer, while three other officers looked on, triggered US-wide demonstrations and riots:
But riots broke out in over 75 US cities, with police caught on video carrying out acts of violence against non-violent civilian protestors and badged press
Everywhere it seems that US police departments are outfitted with military-grade equipment to manage riots in their own country, possibly as a result of surpluses after Iraq and Afghanistan wars. (Trump restarted these sales in 2017).
Research from 2017 claims to show some striking correlations with police killings:
(Thinking of the magician mentioned above…who benefits from the replenishment of all this military equipment after the riots - after all the (rubber) bullets have been fired?)
Just what is Trump’s end game?
Simultaneously, half way around the world…China's parliament has backed security legislation for Hong Kong which made it a crime to undermine Beijing's authority in the territory.
This all happened against a backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic continuing its ongoing spread around the world…
Brazil is now 2nd only to the US in cases.
Locked down Britain and other European countries which are still bringing the 1st wave of the virus under control are living in the shadow of a potential 2nd wave, echoing the spanish flu of a century ago.
…and the likelihood of a prolonged worldwide recession increases.
After the Virus, Climate: major long term global policy decisions are now likely to be squeezed into the next 18 months:
…And SpaceX successfully took two men to the International Space Station space 2nd attempt:
The set design was pretty neat…
…but then, as Antistatic’s Kelly Pendergrast puts it:
SpaceX @SpaceXLiftoff! https://t.co/DRBfdUM7JA
What could the next week possibly hold…?