An instrument of liberation
Computing can help the world to work towards the dream of universal human rights. It is not very difficult to cite examples of grotesque human rights abuses across the globe. Some of the justifications for these human rights abuses originate from a desire by people to different culture from values.
We are then told that some culture cannot accept freedom of speech because it can cause dangerous divisions among the community. Some national leaders have gone as far as saying that their people are too stupid to enjoy freedom of expression and therefore they must be censored. I could write a whole essay about the fallacy of such a claim.
Recently I was listening to a rather silly member of parliament talking about “moral patriotism” in reference to an impoverished African country that was on the verge of enacting some of the most barbaric laws that we have seen in recent times. I did chuckle because the internet will surely dispel the idiocy that is being spouted by such mean spirited people. The internet knows no color or creed. It is about sharing ideas. When people are oppressed, they find it easier to accept that oppression if their governments can convince them that their situation is the best that they can ever have.
The role of modern technology
Computing opens the eyes of those who have been blinded by the narrow dimensions of their limited existence. It allows for people to explore ideas and discuss their impact on their lives. It allows for people to share values and query things that have been fed to them as gospel truth. It is therefore not surprising that some of the most conservative people in the world are the least educated people in the world. Likewise some of the most oppressed people in the world will be those who lack access to computing and the opportunities that it offers.
The greatest threat to the growth and development of computing in the world is the censorship that is expected as a matter of course. Immoral governments try to maintain their grip on power through a series of manipulative intrigues including deception and misinformation.
The gullible and vulnerable will them fall for these scams and end up giving up their valuable human rights. Without censorship, the growth of the computing industry will be enormous. This has enormous implication as to how people see human rights and their willingness to struggle for them.
One of the challenges for the human rights agitators has been the difficulty of trying to identify a global standard for human rights. This allows for localization of human rights abuses that give the justification as the individual needs of a nation. When we hear a ludicrous politician talking about moral patriotism in one of the most corrupt countries ever, you begin to wonder whether there is anyone in those places who cares about human rights. Politicians can lie with impunity and the only rebuttal systems will be the ones that use computing as a tool. Therefore in order to win the battle of human rights, campaigners have to first implement wide spread usage of the computer.