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Elon Musk: Twitter has no solution, @ElonMusk | Technology

Elon Musk: Twitter has no solution, @ElonMusk |  Technology

My headline sounds like I’m going to explain why you should get off Twitter, but it’s the opposite: I think Twitter is fine. Would it be better without insults and without censorship? Yes, but you can’t have both at the same time. Twitter will never be perfect, even if its users and Elon Musk, its recent buyer, want it to be. The blue bird net is a small example of a great truth: utopianism makes unhappy and dystopian places.

There are things that are necessarily imperfect, because we ask them for virtues that collide with each other. It is what happens with couples, friends, cities and entire countries. They are defined by inescapable dilemmas: Do you want to live in a society where you can scream if you feel elated, or would you rather ban screaming and sleep peacefully every night? Order and spontaneity are incompatible virtues. We want a world where someone protects us from our mistakes, but also makes our own decisions. Our dreams are unrealizable, because they collide with each other. That is why there is no ideal world, as Isaiah Berlin said: “You cannot have everything you want, not only in practice, but also in theory.”

That is why there is no ideal Twitter either. Go ahead, I appreciate you. I have been in that social network for 15 years, which is mine: it has been important in my life and it still serves me well. My impulse is to despise her, but this is the truth: I met good friends there, it is where my ideas are articulated, and I owe her a job that I love. I learned everything: being a journalist in 2022 is about discovering true facts and getting someone to pay attention to them. The second I learned on Twitter.

but twitter it defines for conflicts that Elon Musk will not be able to fix. They are problems with no absolute solution.

How much freedom do we want? Nobody dreams of a network where a totalitarian government decides everything that is legal to express. But it is also clear that without moderating the conversation, the networks are filled with spam, scams, insults and abuse, especially against women and minorities. An uncontrolled Twitter will be a pit, a Twitter where offending is illegal will be terrifying.

Whose do we want it to be? Twitter is not “the public square”, as Elon Musk has said, but rather a bar in that square, being the square all internet. But who should rule the bar? It’s easy to say what we don’t want and why: we don’t want it to be a state thing, or we’ll have the Chinese problem; we don’t want it to be owned by a plutocrat, or we’ll have the Musk problem. A third alternative is that it does not belong to anyone, that it is an open and decentralized protocol, which is tempting to me, but it is not free of costs either: in the Wild West it tends to go well for many undesirables. The current balance is for it to be something more or less private and regulated; a bland but acceptable option.

Do we want it to be transparent? Twitter’s dilemmas reach down to its technical details. One of Musk’s proposals is that the algorithm that governs the network be made public, that we know what parameters decide whether a tweet is shown to 30 or 30,000 followers. It is a proposal that sounds good to me. I would like to know what each depends on timeline or why fights are amplified. But it is not a decision without contraindications. An opaque algorithm like the current one is better at protecting the network from those who want to manipulate it to go viral.

I’m sure Twitter can be improved. For example, there will be ways for people to be less obnoxious—less idiotic—when hiding behind a digital avatar. Perhaps experience is enough and young people will be better humans on the internet. But other aspects cannot be “solved”, because they are tensions that we can only aspire to balance.

My concern now is to find out if Elon Musk knows this. Is he aware of the juggling required not to break Twitter or does he come with the audacity of who believes in a utopia? I suppose he knows it, but it will have to be seen. I tend to think of technologists as useful people, because my biases are in their favor, from my love of science fiction to my engineering degree, but technologists have a danger: they feel that everything has a solution. And that idea is false. If bathing in a rough sea is prohibited, you will have the peace of mind that your children will not drown, but you will not be free to dive into the rough waters of a wild beach.

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– Article Written By @Kiko Llaneras from https://elpais.com/tecnologia/2022-04-28/twitter-no-tiene-solucion-elonmusk.html

Will Hotson