Michel Cartier

In collaboration with Jon Husband

January 2020

We have not yet understood that we, citizens of this planet, are engaged in a whirlwind of mutations for which our current leaders are not prepared.

This site offers an exploration and a vision of what our society will probably become.

Towards a new society

We have hit a wall : over the past two decades, we have shifted from an industrial society to a society that is becoming post-industrial :

schéma fr

Societal mutation

It is no longer five minutes to midnight minus five. We have passed midnight ! We are transitioning from :

  • a neo-liberal economy
    towards a Net Economy.
  • a text-based written culture
    towards a culture of interactive screenshots.
  • the Internet as an information system
    towards an Internet that is becoming a system for intervention.
  • a generation of digital immigrants
    towards future generations of digital natives.

Soon, we are going to be living in a post-American, post-Internet, post-neoliberal and post-modern world.

The mutations

Every society’s basic assumptions are being deeply questioned (from Washington, via London and Paris even to the Vatican). Our notions of society are changing in deep ways because the current society is experiencing several important mutations all at the same time :

1- The disappearance of confidence

The US presidential elections of 2016 mark the beginning of the end of the American empire. But above all they reveal the disappearance of citizens’ confidence towards their political classes everywhere on the planet, especially with respect to the younger generations.

2- Our society faces five simultaneous crises

Economic, ecological, energy, geopolitical and generational (chapter 9, no. 1). For the first time in history, ALL citizens of the planet are concerned. We are all engaged in a race between disaster and education.

3- The three dimensions

In the past, industrial societies operated in two dimensions (space and time). The emerging new society will have three dimensions : space, time and information.

Unfortunately, our leaders have glorified information technology at the expense of the information flows that are the main driver of societal development.

Our societies are now blocked from effective actions : (COP21, UN, Doha Round, Islamophobia, isolationism, etc.). The lack of current and timely decisions will further exacerbate the social unrest and violence that has begun to take place.

4- There is not one economy, but four :

  • the official economy (GDP);
  • the virtual economy (overlapping the Internet);
  • the mafia economy (black market, etc.);
  • the pirate economy (money laundering, pornography, sale of weapons, etc.).

In crisis situations, mafia and pirate economies become more important than the official economy. Hence the current erroneous strategies – our leaders no longer know what they are talking about nor do they know what to do about the crises.

5- The new economic model

The main characteristics of the Net economy are beginning to appear : it will be an « a la carte » economy that will no longer rely on physical markets, but rather on an architecture of bricks & clicks. It will be an economy of exchange where the customer will rent more often than she or he will buy (chapter 6, no. 16).

Fueled by financialization, the neoliberal economic model went bankrupt in 2008 because it placed financial wealth as the only indicator of a successful life (chapter 6, no. 15). It leaves an important legacy behind : the disappearance of confidence in the leaders, gross deviations in wealth (1% of the population), a completely blocked middle class and the populist rage that led Donald Trump to the presidency of the US.

6- The control of the planet by financiers

Private computer companies (all of which were very small before 1995) have now become major international service companies that want to control the planet (BigFour, GAFA, Frightful Five). Their main objective is to offer all citizens a personal shopping basket combined with endless stimulation to buy and consume. This was the goal when the protocol was accepted by the G7 in 1995 : to create a free-of-charge global market on the Internet.

Political power is now in the hands of these major international corporations. With their outrageous capitalizations they rule the world, exercising more and more global control over the mass media that they have internalized.

In the past, the media landscape was essential to the functioning of democracy. Today, it has become a business landscape perverted by the power of money and the interests of proprietary enterprises.

7- The Internet as a control mechanism

The Internet is no longer simply a network of information. It is becoming a network for interventions. It is a tool of influence, and therefore of both socio-political and economic control.

We are currently using Internet 2 (clouds, niches, geolocation, etc.) and we are developing Internet 3 services (intelligent objects, quantum architecture, blockchain, virtual realities, etc.).

The latter will be a banalized Internet – installed everywhere and therefore almost invisible, but essential to everyday activities (the basis of the future electronic basket of personal purchases).

8- A Trojan horse

Private companies, such as YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, etc. which aggregate and the serve up to us our individual and collective memories, are in fact cultural and economic Trojan horses which focus only on making huge profits from the information we entrust to them. We are becoming increasingly trapped in their biased algorithmic cultures.

9- Balkanization of the Internet

For political reasons, the Internet will eventually break into four geographical territories : American, Chinese (this has already started), Russian and European (chapter 3, no. 2). Today, users may be willing to use a unique technology, but increasingly they will refuse a single culture.

10- The energy of opinion

Henceforth, information circulates less and less in written form and more and more via a daily flow of images-on-screens (TV, computer and mobile). This new world, saturated with images-on-screens, functions based on emotions much more than on reasoning. Hence the rise of the current unrest and violence.

During the industrial era, information was a given. Now it is more and more often converted into opinion. This creates an energy that citizens can use to challenge the legitimacy of their political classes, which they no longer trust (chapter 1, no. 8).

11- A manipulated world

The information flows are manipulated by algorithms belonging to the large companies, primarily in order to sell their products. We live in a constantly manipulated world (half truths, rumors, opinions, etc.). It is a post-factual world where lies are too quickly created, replaced and amplified by social networks.

12- Atomized citizens

Today ordinary citizens are drowned in a constantly-flowing current of personalized mass-media which atomizes and paralyzes her or him. The personalization (which reinforces individualism) de-cultures people (and de-structures their personalities).

Peoples’ activities on first generation of social networks are generally too narcissistic to be used to change society because thoise activities are too focused on the « ME » and not on the « US » (chapter 7, no. 1).

Incapables de comprendre les mutations actuelles en cours, les classes politiques sont responsables du climat de morosité et du blocage de la société. Les mutations sont multipliées par :

  • l’augmentation exponentielle du nombre d’utilisateurs qui se connectent à l’Internet (voir le schéma ci-dessous) ;
  • du changement des informations qui deviennent plutôt des opinions, donc qui sont dotées d’une forme d’énergie ;
  • de leur rapidité de diffusion qui s’accélère à chaque fois qu’on adopte de nouvelles largeurs de bandes :

(schéma mutation-intro)

Qu’arrivera-t-il dans quelques années quand 75 % de la population de la planète seront connectés à un environnement numérique complètement banalisé (à 5G) ?

Notre société vit écartelée entre des forces de changement (Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luthe King ou le pape François, etc.) que combattent les forces de résistances (les consortiums à la Big Four ou GAFA, etc.) (chapitre 0, no 1).

This current cul-de-sac has several names : 6th Extinction, 3rd World War, 4th Industrial Revolution, 3rd Machine Age, Seventh Fire (North American Indigenous), 9th Wave (China), etc.

Leonard Cohen, who felt the great changes underway, was not pessimistic :
« There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in ».

Is this the end of the world?

Yes and no ! Right now we are witnessing the end of the industrial age :

… but we are simultaneously starting-up a New World :

This period of transition now requires us to look for new models of effective functioning for our new societies. The transition will spark a new age of thought and reflection :

We must change our ways of thinking

In the past, such changes have forced humans to change how they think several times :

A new type of society is emerging : the knowledge-based society. This is not the 4th Industrial Revolution as announced (Davos 2016) ; it will instead be the first post-industrial revolution.

Time is running out

The diagram below illustrates the collision between the amount of data in circulation today and the number of users. This curve appears in all chapters of the site because it is the same curve that illustrates many of the problems of our planet : the debt of states and families, the gap between the rich and the poor, the costs of living, pollution of our environment, the loss of biodiversity and water, food, etc.

Autre exemple

La même courbe est observée dans bien des domaines, ici pour illustrer l’évolution des crânes humains tout au long de l’histoire :

Many languages

We interviewed people and read material in five languages ​​to offer this summary :

AE : the English used in the United States.
AA : British English.
TI : specialized language of IT specialists.
FQ : the French used in Québec.
FF : the French used in France.

The site’s logic

This site is organized according to a certain logic :

  1. Information is at the center of tech analyses ;
  2. then it is scanned by a reader ;
  3. then broadcast on the Internet ;
  4. and communicated to others ;
  5. as images-on-screens ; etc.

Everything is organized in terms of nesting, on the model of Russian dolls (Matryoshka) :

There can be no human practice without a system of ideas.
Louis Althusser, (On philosophy).

Yes, a new model of society exists, see the last chapter.

Does the person reading these lines will have the courage to pass the message to others?