Kevin R. D. Shepherd



Why did you not use a computer for so many years? It seems very out of date not to use one like so many other people, and yet your Citizen Initiative website does clearly state your longstanding reluctance in this respect.

I did not use a computer until the year 2007. I did not even know how to operate one. Instead I used my old manual typewriter which transcribed all my books. I found a keynote in simplicity and distance from distractions. I disliked computer advertising and all the hype about progress, which was clearly the product of a commercial process involving massive profits for key promoters. Computers are still flagrantly commercial media, the tool of big business so frequently lacking scruple. The educational aspect is also present, of course; however, one often has to look hard to find that important factor in due measure.

I had a strong suspicion about the use of technology, which so often creates disadvantages (for instance, nuclear weapons and environmental pollution). People told me that nothing could go wrong with the marvellous world of computers, the latest proof of human invention resource. What eventually caused me to become a computer user was the practical difficulty encountered in launching a long website. I decided to learn more about the process myself, although I needed the help of technicians for a time. Since that period, I have created seven more information websites, featuring many articles in total. I decline resort to commercial ads, which disfigure so many sites.

A computer does assist to achieve an improved presentation of documents. As a writer, I do like that aspect of the technology. I can send emails if I want to, yet I formerly managed well enough by relying upon the postal system. That way I was never in receipt of the exploitive spam which now jams the internet. The internet latitude for fraudsters is almost unbelievable. This diversion is not civilisation but infraculture.

For many years, computer enthusiasts were jubilant about the newly created advantages of internet activity. A downside was scarcely envisaged. Circa 2010, large populations became aware of trolls, fake news, and hackers. The downside had arrived with a vengeance.

In 2020, Google registered over two million phishing websites worldwide, a 20 percent increase on 2019. Since 2016, phishing has substantally replaced malware as the major category of predatory site. Diverse forms of invasion are repellant. Security experts warn that drive-by downloads can be installed on a computer merely by looking at an email, browsing a malicious site, or clicking on the wrong pop-up window designed to mislead.

Other drawbacks are often forgotten. A frequently unrecognised problem is the erosion of mental autonomy induced by a surfeit of technology. Sadly, “more choice” is not a liberating factor in many cases, being instead the cause of an increased dependence upon distractions, including malicious websites. Even more reputable activities transpired to harbour negative factors. Social networking websites like Facebook became well known in Britain for encouraging semi-literate contributions and libels. Troll activity now caused much consternation. Trolls are pseudonymous entities who are calculating no come-back for their transgressions.

Google Inc. of California has a huge public responsibility in relation to websites and blogs. Unfortunately, Google gives priority to backlinks, not quality of content. On Google Search, inferior (and also defamatory) blogs can gain ascendancy over diligent websites conveying far more relevant information. The visible discrepancies in this situation are pronounced. The length of Search list entries is no longer specified, unlike the situation formerly existing. This blanking of detail assists short read web detritus.

The advance of technology is not everywhere welcomed. In July 2008, the Google project of photographing British houses, on a national basis, gained adverse publicity. This project evoked media complaints that Google are thereby making available details which can be used against hapless citizens by thieves and terrorists. The giant American computer company was accused of mounting an incursion upon British public safety. A national feeling developed that Google is exploiting British citizens, a factor matched by American complaints about similar activities in the home country of Google. The contested project of Google Earth was a software enterprise released to the public in 2006. Known as the “globe program,” the software here included Earth Pro, selling for 400 dollars per year. The use of Google automobile cameras in British streets spotlighted the “invasion of privacy,” also related issues causing similar complaints in other countries (Google Earth Controversy).

From America to Japan, many cults and suspect organisations have gained subscribers via the internet. Soon after becoming a computer user, I discovered that I was a renewed target of stigma (in 2007) by an aggressive American sectarian. Though banned from Wikipedia, he was still very active on Google Search (Internet Terrorist). SSS108 (Equalizer, Gerald Joe Moreno) had launched a Wikipedia User page against my books in 2006, in the cause of Sathya Sai Baba. The manifest pro-sectarian complexion of this situation was strikingly obvious to observers, confirming suspicions that various Wikipedia articles about gurus and related entities were providing a platform for activists. Objectivity was strongly in question, meaning that the Wikipedia guideline of NPOV (neutral point of view) could not be taken seriously. No less than four sectarian movements were represented in the Wikipedia hostilities against myself commenced by SSS108. Plus other "new age" interests of so-called "human potential."

The troll dimensions of Wikipedia are viewed with misgivings (Wikipedia Anomalies). The majority of Wikipedia editors and administrators use a pseudonym, which is no encouragement to regard their statements as being authoritative. The average age of Wikipedia editors was long ago stated (by manager Jimmy Wales) to be 26, though more recent assessments indicate a much lower age group. Wikipedia personnel should not indulge in personal attacks, but these became evident on many discussion pages and Noticeboard features. Jimmy Wales deleted the SSS108 User page in 2012. See also Wikipedia Misinformation.

Pseudonymity on the web is strongly in question. Anonymous authorship too frequently converges with troll tendencies. If internet users are reluctant to reveal their true identity, suspicion can legitimately attach to their output.

The complexity known as the dark web has done nothing to alleviate complaints about criminal tendencies. The scope for drug commerce is extensive on the dark web, this being only one of the drawbacks. Ransomware and other hacker tools are extensively available. Thousands of online criminal "marketplaces" sell ransomware, the hackers daily creating malware. Extremist internet performance includes the death threats of terrorism.

In popular channels like Facebook, the sick activity of "just for laughs, at the expense of others" is no compliment to the most degenerate society to date existing on this planet. See Memes, Subcultures, and Social Media. Facebook is realistically a social affliction harbouring thousands of suspect User pages.

Consumers now have to confront the fact that sales turnover can be a headache. For instance, the more web-connected devices that exist in a home, the more access routes there are for cyber criminals. Within a few years, cyber attacks intensified throughout the world. Ransomware gangs now made vast profits (in the billions) from their predatory attacks on businesses, governments, schools, and hospitals. Cyber crime became more profitable than the global trade in illegal drugs. Profits from this innovation were often used to fund other criminal enterprises such as human trafficking and child exploitation. The American sector is hard hit by cyber crime, with millions of Americans now being concerned about identity theft.

The disadvantages of computers are a sad reflection upon human criminal traits. Extensive legislation is needed to improve the educational performance of this media.

Copyright © 2021 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved. Page uploaded August 2008, last modified July 2021.