What a proverbial roller coaster on the 21stst century has been.
The post-globalization era has revolutionized human relationships, commerce, lifestyles, commerce, and geopolitics in more ways than we could have imagined after World War II.
For some, the Fourth Industrial Revolution did not herald its arrival. It landed on us like a meteorite, opening and closing craters of information and shattering pretenses in the process.
However you choose to view it, all aspects of life have been disrupted. Look no further than the ubiquity of mobile money. At the pension payment points, the grandmothers dial *120*120# to buy airtime. At ATMs, wealthy kids compete alongside blue-collar workers, migrant workers and sugar babies to withdraw electronic wallets.
The age of artificial intelligence with super robots enabling deep learning is opening up insight and commerce prospects, at least for those with the resources and social capital to make it work for them. For the rest of us, we are just a market under the watchful eye of the algorithm.
At the same time, millions are being lulled to sleep in the addictive metaverse of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, and others. There is a province for everyone under the sun in the metaverse.
When people wanted to fight and expose their idiocy to the outside world, Twitter arose to quench the thirst for fame by stridently taking up one cause or another.
In this province everyone claims the Premier’s chair and chain. All kinds of notoriety is flourishing, and more and more dastardly acts are being performed in the race for likes and retweets.
Despite knowing that almost everyone is crazy about this platform, it has become a playground for self-righteous politicians to expand their spheres of influence. No self-respecting politician is today without a social network what what hired to upload photos and videos, tweet random excerpts from lengthy speeches, and generally maintain the visibility of said politician.
They compete with models from OnlyFans and their sponsors and various other forms of solicitation. The logic is: the more followers you get, retweets and likes, the broader the egos. Would you have imagined that Twitter is now the center of pornography? No wonder the guy from Pretoria bought it and turned it into his ranch.
When people wanted to kill and openly display their embellished lives, the province of Instagram was there to offer the freedom of the city: no Visa required. Extravagant fashion labels, private jets, glitz, tables overflowing with curated food and expensive spirits are the order of the day.
Instagram is the domain of the influencer who basically represents nothing in exchange for likes. These influencers are oblivious to the realities of life. Everyone is rich, snatched and in the making.
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They have all been Face-Tuned and Photoshopped to within an inch of their life. No cellulite, acne or shubabas here. Everyone is bleached or light-skinned. Add botox to the mix and they all look similar, if not identical.
Can someone explain the bathroom photo fad? Maybe it’s for good lighting. How can self-respecting people become mascots like this, even well-known politicians? Not-so-flashy global brand mascots that accentuate our disfigured selves, supersized by all sorts of genetically modified edibles.
For those who dreamed of being on stage or screen but were rejected by casting agencies and production companies, TikTok is the new public square, unleashing remarkable adventures. Unfiltered home videos circulate widely. Country queens slain in decrepit rondavels, omageza (taxi drivers), nyaope boys, and even truckers have found instant fame. A certain maskandi musician warned in a recent hit: “be careful with your wife twerking on TikTok”. The urban killer queens of Instagram have found their match in these amateurs who kill in their natural habitat, with and without filters.
Personally, I am a fan of Zulu TikTok. The algorithm imposed it on me. My first two searches when I joined were for traditional Zulu dancers to show my Chinese friends. I kid you not, even the leader of the largest faction of the Shembe Church, Unyazi LweZulu, is on TikTok. He was rebuking his flock there the other day. The algorithm noticed after my searches and decided to send similar videos every time I log in.
Facebook is the place for anyone who has a story to tell but whose shoddy work has been rejected by publishers and newspapers. Now anyone with data and a device can publish their rules. According to the wakers and Gen Z on Twitter and Snapchat, Facebook is for the oldies, the baby boomers, and those who made South Africa ungovernable in the ’80s.
Unlimited access to conspiracy theories and alternative facts. Like Instagram, Facebook can be a dangerous pursuit for impressionable young women who may fall prey to ladies’ men masquerading as gentlemen. They are ready to attack, with dire consequences. They can’t stand their peers on Tinder.
For those who want to keep their lewd activities down, Tinder comes to the rescue. All manner of scammers reside in this province: they pose as bitcoin moguls who fly in private jets, eat caviar, and wear Swiss watches. Women desperate for validation, to settle down, or to meet Mr. Right are easy picks for these Musa Mseleku type characters. Losing love could be the last of your worries if you get chewed up and spit out on Tinder, in many cases it could be your savings as well.
Just when we were trying to make sense of these quantum leaps in the world of supercomputing and their implications, ChatGPT arrived to open the doors to plagiarists and shake up intellectual rigor. ChatGPT is technological manna from heaven for impersonators. The beer truck has overturned in broad daylight.
There is no need to think any further, let alone think twice before violating copyright and intellectual property rules. Everything you need is now at your fingertips. Do you need to produce a document on climate change? Just type keywords into the search engine and in 16 seconds you’ll be ready to submit a typewritten essay. Those Eastern Cape plagiarists can now improve their productivity with this platform. He also writes great speeches.
Tired of rural life and hoping to get jobs in Durban, we build shacks to rent. They all live with us now in eNanda, with their rural tendencies that are hard to clean up. My neighborhood is a province of the metaverse, where human decency has met the incinerator.
And so it is with these provinces of the metaverse. Everyone has a place in the sun. It’s a world of its own. We could also join each other. Even the jerks have gone viral. MD