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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cybernetics, cyberspace and cyberwars in Malaysia

Welcome to cyberspace. Malaysian cyberspace. Think of two cybernetic landscapes – Malaysiakini and Malaysia-Today. Think of these questions below:

Why are governments afraid of the power of citizen journalism - and of the Internet in general? What will be the conclusion of this great war between government bloggers and Guevara-inspired guerilla-like grassroots-based cyber-freedom fighters? Especially the one that is raging in malaysiakini and malaysia-today. A war that is bringing criminals from the battlefields of cyberspace into the real world of the interrogation rooms of the Anti-Corruption Agency. Ones that help expose wrongdoings of elected representatives and bring his downfall. Battles that rage between ideas of totalitarianism in universities and prospects for a freedom of inquiry and anti-fascism in college classrooms. Spaces of knowledge that bring us up to date information on what magnitude of corruption the New Economic Policy has brought us after 37 years.

"Information wants to be free" as some Internet guru and philosopher of this cybernetic age might say. And as information leaves the author and transmits and transmutes itself, it assumes a life of its own. As the great Islamic historian Ibnu Khaldun would say, to the effect "as the hands writes nothing is erased…" Or, as the physicist Stephen Hawkings would say, even data that transmutes is a life-form in itself.

But why is the Malaysian government afraid of the power of the Frankenstein it has allowed to roam the streets of Cyberjaya. Why is Malaysia's "ministry of cybernetics" afraid of this creature the magnitude of the mythical "Badang" (the strong man of the age of pre-agriculture Malaya) that becomes like "Agent Smiths" of the movie The Matrix roaming the streets exposing brutishly the corrupt practices of men and women, screaming of these people to be brought to justice?

Who can stop our Agents Smiths – even if counter-agents called Malaysian cyber-troopers as those cybernetic soldiers of fortune are cloned and droned and then released into blogs to engage in battles of the cyberfrontier – in this Mahabaratha of Malaysian cyber-rama as the general elections approaches?

There are several explanations I am proposing below- on how the Internet is going to further transform nations:

The power of cybernetics

1. In a globalised post-industrialist world, the development of a cybernating nation will continue to follow, to a degree or another the centre-periphery perspective of development.

2 .Pure historical materialist conception of change cannot fully explain why nations cybernate; the more a nation gets "wired" the more complex the interplay between nationalism and internationalism will be.

3. The more a nation transforms itself cybernetically, the more extensive the enculturalisation of the word "cybernetics" will be.

4. The extent of the enculturalization of the concept of "cybernetics" will determine the speed by which a nation will be fully integrated into the global production-house of telematics.

5. The stronger the authority of the regime the greater the control and magnitude of the cybernating process. In a cybernating nation, authority can reside in the political will of a single individual or a strong political entity.

6. The advent of the Internet in a developing nation signifies the genesis of the erosion of the power of government-controlled print media. Universal access to the Internet will determine the total erosion of government-produced print media.

7. Creative consciousness of the peoples of the cybernating nation will be centralised in the area of business and the arts, modeled after successful global corporations.

8. Critical consciousness of the people of the cybernating nation will be centralised in the area of political mobilisation and personal freedom of expression, modeled after successful Internet-based political mobilisation groups.

9. At the macro-level of the development of a nation-state, the contestation of power is between the nations cybernating versus the nations fully cybernated, whereas at the micro level, power is contested between the contending political parties/groups.

10. The more the government suppresses voices of political dissent, the more the Internet is used to affect political transformations.

11. The fundamental character of a nation will be significantly altered with the institutionalisation of the Internet as a tool of cybernating change. The source of change will however be ideologically governed by external influences, which will ultimately threaten the sovereignty of the nation-state.

12. Discourse of change, as evident in the phenomena of cybernation, is embedded in language. The more a foreign concept is introduced, adopted, assimilated, and enculturalised, the more the nation will loose its indigenous character built via schooling and other means of citizenship enculturalisation process.

13. Postmodernist perspectives of social change, rather than those of Structural-Functionalists, Marxist, or neo-Marxist, can best explain the structure and consequences of cybernetic changes.

These 13 propositions above I generated almost 10 years ago are general ideas of what is happening in the world of cyberspace as it clashes with the worldview of the physical space of the illusive concept of the "nation-state."

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