Worrying about someone spreading fake news during an election is like worrying about someone throwing a cup of water on you while you’re in the shower.
A modern day election campaign is a reality tv show with a multi-billion dollar advertising budget. It's not designed to inform you or help you think through complex issues; it's designed to entertain you and provoke you into making wildly emotional decisions about our future.
But all this hand-wringing over fake news misses the point. As McKenna used to say, 'Real' is a distinction of a naive mind, and we’re getting beyond that.
Lil Miquela is an instagram model and social justice activist with two million followers. She's worked with Clavin Klein, been interviewed by Vogue, and she's not real; she's a CGI character. Hatsune Miku is a pop star in Japan. She's a dancing, singing, pig-tailed girl that sells out stadiums. And she’s also not real; she’s a 3D hologram.
From pop star to politician: How long until we elect the first virtual president?
The thought of voting for a hologram might seem far fetched but would it really be all that much of a stretch from what we have today? The president on television is only a few shades more real. Every word they say has been carefully crafted and focus-group tested. It's all just political theater. So why not let Pixar do the whole goddamn show?
"One of the definitions of sanity is the ability to tell real from unreal. Soon we’ll need a new definition."— Alvin Toffler
As the 'real' world becomes increasingly artificial and engineered, our virtual worlds are evolving into elaborate social environments where most of our real lives unfold. Any lingering distinction between 'real life' and what happens online has completely disappeared. Is a twitter mob any less real than a suburban lawn or a trip to Disney World?
When you hold a hammer in your hand repeatedly, your brain reorganizes the neural map of your body to include the tool. You have to wonder whether something similar is happening now with our brains and the internet. The web has become an extension of our nervous system as McLuhan predicted, a kind of shared unconscious that turns all of our traditional notions of real and fake inside out.
How do you draw a line between real and imagined when a moment is being felt simultaneously around the globe?
Who's to say what's real or not when every detail of an event is scripted and engineered by a vast team of political scientists, speech writers, artists, and designers?
How do you distinguish between politics and propaganda after the President of the free world wins the advertiser of the year award?
A tweet isn't about what's happening, it is what's happening.
We don't watch the internet, we are the internet.
We don't read Twitter, we plug into it the way a toaster plugs into an electrical outlet.