Resistance to transparency is futile
When our prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, talked about the “robot lobby” in his speech at the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) weekly meeting on Tuesday, I thought I was dreaming. I thought that I was in the future living in one of Isaac Asimov’s books. Erdoğan said there was a robot lobby conspiring against him. I thought that in the year 2400, when Erdoğan is still the Prime Ruler, the robots had decided to ditch the three laws of robotics and started marching on the capital. Then I thought that I was in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and that the Borgs had captured Erdoğan. They were repeating that famous line, too: “Resistance is futile.”
I pinched myself and realized that he was talking about the social media bots that post automatic tweets rather than Borgs.
With this new addition, the list of lobbies that are now conspiring against him is as follows: interest rate, terror, media, social media, judiciary, marginal, international, montage saltshakers and robot.
According to Erdoğan, the robot lobby is actually working hand in hand with all the others, especially the social media lobby and the montage lobby. The montage lobby creates the tapes, the social media lobby designs a strategy and the robot lobby seeds the tapes. I have been looking at the profiles of those who share feeds and I haven’t seen one that is manufactured. However, it is a known fact that the AKP uses social media bots and manufactured accounts to a considerable degree. In another tape, Erdoğan’s daughter Sümeyye talks about trolls as well. They are the youngster AKP hooligans who target people and who tweet anything that the AKP wants. I have written many times that it is killing the very fabric of social media. It is very disturbing to see that the ruling party is resorting to social media violence to silence any ideas that are not in line with its own. The trolls that Sümeyye Erdoğan talks about not only promote whatever the AKP wants to but also attack people person-by-person, making them unable to tweet.
I don’t want to comment on the authenticity of the tapes. It is a debated issue. However, the nice thing about technology is that it enables us to reach the facts if we want to. Erdoğan can end the debate if he wants to, simply by being transparent. If he lets us know about the location of his son and daughter at the specific time of the alleged conversation took place and if he gives access to his conversations with his son, then the conspiracy would fail. But with every passing day that he doesn’t take these measures, the negativity surrounding his rule will increase. It is, of course, his own choice. But I just wanted to state that technology can be an ally if you can be transparent, but it can be your worst enemy if you are not.
All in all, it is very unhealthy for our prime minister to talk about technology only in a negative manner. I hope that the days will come when we will be able to talk about social media and Internet technologies as allies of a transparent society.
If I were a Borg in the robot lobby, I would say: “Resistance to transparency is futile.”