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Can Elon Musk Really Stop Big Tech From Controlling Us?

We usually don’t realize how far it has already gone in efforts to control our thinking

Think it doesn’t control you? Andrew McDiarmid can offer you some examples of pervasive efforts to control our thinking:

It appeared in Apple’s iPhone software update this year, when a “pregnant man” emoji was quietly added to keyboards. It’s seen in Google’s new (and currently stalled) “inclusive language” feature, which autocorrects gendered terms like “landlord,” “policeman” or “housewife.”

Andrew McDiarmid, “Big Tech is subtly controlling our lives—and we need to fight back” at New York Post (May 7, 2022)

Surely, almost nobody on the planet, apart from small pressure groups, had asked for a “pregnant man” emoji. The concept has nothing whatever to do with the serious problems many pregnant women face worldwide.

Landlord? Again, many people worldwide face problems with greedy or autocratic “landlords.” Who exactly is helped by making the problem difficult to discuss by monkeying around with terminology?

It’s not just that Big Tech attempts to control us by shaping our thinking. It is doing real harm.

Referencing the work of French philosopher Jacques Ellul (1912–1994), McDiarmid hopes that Elon Musk’s Twitter buy will make a difference:

Elon Musk’s bold move to buy Twitter and take it private is a great example of pushing back on the technique of Big Tech. According to Ellul, an environment that is truly natural allows humans to achieve their individual, internally generated ends — your own personal life goals. These can include what kind of education you want to pursue, whether you will build a family, or what you want to contribute to your community.

A natural environment protects these types of core human freedoms, along with others such as speech, dignity and autonomy. In its current form – awash with arbitrary censorship – Twitter doesn’t do this. But Musk says he will – by enshrining free speech, making Twitter’s algorithms open-source and transparent, and verifying humans while invalidating bots and jihadists. Without this intervention, Twitter would continue to oppress humanity rather than liberate and dignify it.

Andrew McDiarmid, “Big Tech is subtly controlling our lives—and we need to fight back” at New York Post (May 7, 2022)

One thing’s for sure: The recent blistering attack on Musk by an elite traditional medium, the New York Times, suggests that he is over the target.

You may also wish to read: Muskageddon! Elon Musk, world’s richest man, now owns Twitter And wants it to be more of a free speech platform. How will that go? It’s almost as if free speech was a brand new idea, like Tesla. Actually, it’s not. (Denyse O’Leary)

Denyse O'Leary

Denyse O'Leary is a freelance journalist based in Victoria, Canada. Specializing in faith and science issues, she is co-author, with neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul; and with neurosurgeon Michael Egnor of the forthcoming The Human Soul: What Neuroscience Shows Us about the Brain, the Mind, and the Difference Between the Two (Worthy, 2025). She received her degree in honors English language and literature.

Can Elon Musk Really Stop Big Tech From Controlling Us?