With Twitter, the godfather of the trolls is adding a new brick to his techno-political arsenal, which he puts at the service of a utopian vision of a techno-solution world. When he shares his dreams of a digital state, isn’t Citizen Musk inventing technofascism ?
Photo caption: WELCOME THE TERRIANS _ In the realm of America’s future CEO, pop billionaires have a future…provided they can turn their business into a religion and their selfish journey into a political agenda.
“The battle for the future of civilization. » Here’s how Elon Musk soberly reveals the stakes of his recent Twitter acquisition and just about everything he does. In view of his civilizational ambitions, as well as the fact that he was a good, self-respecting metropolis, industrial magnate, it was time to afford a medium. But not the good old paper duck, like Bezos with the Washington Post and the whole world before. No, because Musk is already in the world of tomorrow, in which technology is the new attribute of power and influence, a real hybrid geopolitical weapon.
And in this world everything is cyber-connected. Between SpaceX and its rockets, Starlink and its constellation of satellites, Tesla and its autonomous cars or its robots, Neuralink and its brain-machine interfaces, and now Twitter with its soft power, Musk seems to be weaving elements of techno after another. a political arsenal that is starting to get creepy. “He has potentially created a mass surveillance system that can really compete with the NSA. We are clearly at a turning point regarding new forms of power, with these powers being technological giants, and at a time when states must redefine themselves. If we are not careful, this could become potentially dangerous,” warns Asma Mhalla, a techno-political specialist.
With Twitter in his hands, Musk becomes the king of the “digital city square”, where the ideological confrontations of modernity are played out, as well as the geopolitical confrontations of the information war. In recent years, it seems that no one can stop this vengeful troll and his crazy vision of a transhumanist multi-planetary world in which technology will be the answer to everything. Therefore, after the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, a new crisis may well bear the name of the Mask. But what exactly is happening?
If Citizen Musk spent $44 billion to acquire Twitter, which is a high price compared to its real value, it is because his project is primarily political, even ideological, rather than economic. Because Musk and other Silicon Valley techno-manuals have been clearly recovering for some time now and are now putting themselves politically into a sort of techno-forced post-Trumpism — like Peter Thiel, his former Paypal buddy, also created Palantir, which funds Republican nominee Ron De Santis, already billed as the next Trump.
“ELECTORAL CAMPAIGNING IS CARRIED OUT WITH ROBOTS AND ARMIES OF TROLLS. » – BYUN CHUL-HAN
Like Donald, Musk has always known how to get the most out of Twitter. He advertises himself and his companies there – you’ve never seen a Tesla ad – shakes up the financial markets on Twitter or challenges politicians on live TV. In this regard, he positions himself in a new way, considering freedom of speech in relation to power. An approach explained by essayist Byung Chul-Khan in his book Infocracy, where he evokes a certain informational capitalism, “while the disciplinary regime of industrial capitalism operated with coercion and repression, this new informational regime uses freedom instead of suppressing it” . . He also explains that “electoral campaigns are now being waged as information wars, with robots and armies of trolls, and democracy is degenerating into infocracy.” So in the age of Musk, the freedom of our democracies, which had previously been a strength, could very well become a weakness.
The very maximalist freedom of expression that Musk intends to apply to Twitter is actually at the service of a cyberpopulism of inattentive nerds that can degenerate into a real infodemic. Asma Mhalla also notes that “Trump brought in ‘post-truth politics’ and Musk brought in ‘post-truth economics’.” According to the lawsuit of Twitter, they did not bother to agree on methods for counting fake accounts, Twitter said 5%, Musk said 20%. numbers. And it works…”
“CEO OF AMERICA”
Parallels with Trump can be drawn on other levels, for example, on the level of humor. Because Musk is also a top-notch troll, using taunts and a frown as a formidable soft power weapon. “Twitter and its trolls allow him to sneer at institutions or a state that he despises philosophically (but not for government contracts)… Like Trump, he uses a strategy of chaos that will voluntarily cause astonishment as he moves forward. This is cognitive saturation because one piece of information erases another and the information no longer has any value. »
This mode of action, this kind of troll, is an integral part of the technopopulism that Musk is inventing before our very eyes. And if it works, it will be in part because of the poor long-term political vision of the United States. “Trump and Musk are becoming authority figures who represent something and have a strong vision. We have long been without authority figures with political projects in the West… Suddenly there are strong people with conflicting personalities who offer visions, who are followed, who have influence and who dictate the political and media agenda. They become attractions. explains our cyber specialist.
Always following in Trump’s footsteps, we’ve heard Top Tweet’s entourage picked up Boss Donald’s “Make America Great Again” to transform it into “Make Market Street Great Again” – Market Street is the street where they opened their headquarters Twitter in San Francisco. In a word, techno-trumpism, politics through business, whose followers willingly allow themselves to dream of Musk as “America’s CEO.” But when we look at the verticality and ferocity with which Elon Musk manages his affairs, we tell ourselves that it would be a good idea to beware of this man and his management, even if he promises to work for the good of the world in every interview. . . . What is this great project he has in store for us that seems to be beyond the comprehension of mere mortals?
OUR CYBER NEEDS
Fascinated by the Chinese super app WeChat, but far less managing Chinese-style technological sovereignty — we remember the mysterious disappearance of the Alibaba boss — his idea was to turn Twitter into a mega universal app. An X application that would bring all our cyber needs together in one place. From mobility to banking and managing our identity. Thus, in the near future, Musk may present us with a digital currency that will replace the dollar, which he hates, and which will become a new building block that brings us closer to some kind of “network state” or digital state. Asma Mhalla also recalls that “libertarianism is a variable geometry in Musk, when it comes to doing business, commanding and therefore leadership, it is on a continuum with the American state, but when it comes to the social side, it will take a clear and distinct anti-state stance.
As a good technocrat, like his grandfather, convinced that engineers can save the world, Musk is confident that his techno-global project can improve the future of our civilization. “For him, technology is the final answer to everything, he has a comprehensive vision of this,” says Asma Mhalla. It erases all the political, human and cultural complexity of the issues that arise. Sputnik will fight famine in Africa or deforestation in the Amazon, Twitter will solve the problem of free speech in the United States… centralized exercise of power. In addition to this techno-fundamentalist belief, Musk espouses the ideology of “long-termism,” a doctrine based on cosmism theorized by Russians in the late 19th century. Idea? Consider the future of humanity from a very long term perspective and don’t worry about the short term negative consequences. The long term is a commitment to results, not means.
Thus, Musk seems to have ambitions far beyond the prerogatives of the American president and power as we know it. We saw him invite himself to the table of geopolitical discussions on the topic of Taiwan or the war in Ukraine, where he deployed his satellites in less than 48 hours after Zelensky’s tweet … We clearly see Musk is benefiting from almost unimaginable leeway for the government, and begins poke your nose into the big things of the world, beyond American borders. And this is just the beginning of its transformation… So what will be the next technological building block for the Starlink boss (which we just found out is opening up to the military market with the Starshield line…)?
With Musk, a new kind of cyberpopulism is clearly developing. With Trump as the political prototype, Musk as the economic leader, and Kanye West as the cultural cantor, we see a kind of three-headed hydra rise up to represent the ideological challenges that await us. At a time when digital influence and the ones that follow are becoming the lifeblood of information warfare and therefore ideas, how long will it be before Kim Kardashian and company begin to fully encroach on the political space? In the light of this information, we might very well see the emergence of a kind of smiling fascism in the coming years, a populism with white teeth and undermined luxury brands, for which Musk will be the ultimate savior.
Picture Matthias St. Aubin