Marxist Theory in Revealing Errors

Reading Revealing Errors by Benjamin Mako Hill, the first thing I think about is Marxist theory. Especially Hill’s argument for “rendering invisible technologies visible” in a digital landscape in which everything is simply ones and zeros coded in an infinite number of ways. What we see on screen, like videos, images, texts, is simply surface level to the coding hidden below. So what does this have to do with Communism? In the Communist Manifesto, Marx discusses the alienation of the proletariat, in other words, the separation between the workers and the labor they produce. The way I interpret this is that consumers are connected to the products they buy, but are unaware of the labor conditions that takes to producing said commodities. The proletariat is thus rendered invisible. That’s the parallel I see and would probably not go further than that, as Marx goes on to discuss the need for the proletariat to fight back against oppression and start a revolution. I mean, we won’t need to worry about that until we start replacing all of our workers with androids. Now is not the time to dream about a futuristic dystopia. Anyways, what I take out of comparing Marxist thought to this article is that it is important to reveal what is unseen as a way of better understanding the power that technology has in shaping and maintaining certain ideologies. Oh man, we’re back to Marxism!
ad_error_box_01
That section about how the American Family Association has a software that modifies language blows my mind. Essentially, you can have a single article, change some words around, and it can produce two distinct and separate reactions. For instance, if a news article was titled “Marriage Equality Passes in the Supreme Court”, and although the content is exactly the same, but the title is rewritten as “Homosexual Marriage is Made Legal by the Government”, it produces two different reactions and sometimes needless fear mongering. Thus, I think it is VERY important that internet users be aware of the manipulation of media, and the technologies behind such subtle, subliminal ideologies.
Advertisements