Greetings to all readers and subscribers, and special greetings to the paid subscribers!
I didn’t plan on writing yet another love letter to Elon Musk after these two (1, 2), but I really have to. First this:
More than 70 percent of more than two million people who answered this poll said that no, Twitter does not rigorously adhere to free speech principles. Is Elon Musk going to fix this?
Then it was confirmed that Musk had purchased more than 9 percent of Twitter:
Musk was offered a seat on Twitter’s Board of Directors but declined to join.
It seems likely that Musk didn’t join Twitter’s Board because he doesn’t want to be limited to less than 15 percent ownership of the company. Perhaps he wants to buy more than 15 percent and be in control.
Or he might cash out. Or do something else. Too early to tell. Watching how this develops in the next few months (or maybe days?) will be fun.
Besides minor technical point, the main Twitter issue is free speech. Some people like to call free speech “hate speech” when it comes from the other side of the political divide, but feel free to engage in hate (sorry, free) speech themselves.
Make no mistake, there is real hate speech out there and I’m not opposed to reasonable moderation of real hate speech.
But it happens all too often that Twitter moderation targets only one side of the political divide. Even calm and reasonable posters who dare questioning some fashionable cultural dogmas are punished. But I have seen Twitter tolerating real hate speech including death threats and exhortations to violence when it comes from the other side. This must end, and the sooner the better.
I hope Elon (who calls himself a free speech absolutist - I just love this guy) will do something to fix this soon. If so, I look forward to using Twitter much more. Actually, since I try to cultivate an optimistic outlook, I’m already using Twitter more.
Let’s move to space now:
The “Return to Space” documentary covers the story of SpaceX from the beginnings to Crew Dragon Demo-2. I watched Bob and Doug from the beginning to the end of the Demo-2 mission, and it felt like history in the making. Perhaps the documentary is too long and too slow, but it’s very worth watching because Elon says, clearly and in your face, that we must return to the Moon, then settle Mars and become multi-planetary before the window of opportunity closes.
This MUST be said clearly and in your face, and repeated and retweeted and said again and shouted from the top of high places, because becoming multi-planetary, first in the solar system and then out there among the stars, is the most important task of humanity at this moment.
We can either remain locked down on this planet waiting to die, or boldly go out there and reap unlimited material and spiritual rewards among the stars. This is a cornerstone of Turing Church.
The problems with Twitter are symptoms of a material but also spiritual lockdown (see my book “Futurist spaceflight meditations”) and it is good to see that Elon is striving to do something about both.
Cover image from Netflix.
Return to space is cool, but the problem with free speech surveys is that mostly the aggrieved are going to respond to the survey. Fraud, slander, misrepresentation, inciting violence, assault (personal threat) and terrorizing (group threat) are illegal and harmful. It is far too risky for Twitter to cave to the "free speech" arguments that it should not filter any of these things. It must because it is too risky not to.
You say you understand "some" censorship of "hate" speech, but I think it becomes a difficult question as to what is or is not "hate" speech. An "absolutist" approach such as "zero tolerance" or on the other side of the spectrum "anything goes" cannot work either.
And here in the USA (which is where a lot of these issues get tested) the elephant in the room is the rise and fall of the "Donald Trump" Twitter account. "The Donald" claims to be the "victim" of Twitter censorship when the bulk of his Twitter rants were all about painting the free press as the "enemy of the state."
It is diabolical how this works and it is no coincidence that Russia has become the master of state run media painting the free press as the enemy. Twitter and Facebook to some extent have actually been the saviors of free speech by taking action against those who break the rules on what they post.
Is there room for improvement for Twitter? Most certainly there is. Could Elon be that leader? He most certainly could. But, unblocking Donald Trump is not the answer either. Donald Trump has proven that he is unable to follow rules or obey laws. About all he has accomplished is threaten this brave experiment we call "democracy."