As a regular 21C cyborg, I communicate mostly in music videos.

Oh, I can still speak and write and and read English. I can interpret body language and vocal microtones just like any other human. I love face-to-face conversation more than anything. I could live in a cafe, just sipping beverages and talking til the dawn returns. But I’m a Millennial. My friends are scattered across the globe. We’re a nomad generation: we travel to where the jobs are, where the politics are right, where the internet is fast.

So we must find other ways to talk. Text is limited and static. Phone calls drop all the nuance of facial expressions. Video chat is close, but still drops the subtlety of smell and the warmth of another mammal’s heart. Not to mention the creepy surveillance machines that infest most software – I know countless people who won’t use video chat because they don’t want their faces in the databases.

But this is the 21C. We don’t have to rely on the ancestral mechanisms of grunt and gesture, not purely. We don’t have to reinvent language from scratch like the Esperanto people. We are the People of the Remix. We can hot-swap emotions and images, words and sounds. We can speak in metaphors and puzzles and dreams. We can send our thoughts across the planet instantaneously. We’re becoming a telepathic society.

Music videos are dense nuggets of information. They’re high-definition communication. Sound, color, motion all swirl together in a rapid and synchronous pattern that perfectly attracts our hunter-gatherer senses. The imagery aims directly for our limbic systems. Did you know that just seeing an attractive face on a screen will dilate your pupils, raise your heart rate, activate your salivary glands?

Sex, drugs, violence, dance: the most ancient and powerful exploits, the main backdoors for cognitive hackers. Written language is to the music video as the Trojan Horse is to the Predator drone.

So if I have a complex emotion to share with you, a person who may be asleep on the other side of the planet, should I write you an eight-page email? Or can I send a single youtube link, which, when unfolded, reveals years of human effort geared to evoke that exact feeling in your mind?

So in the spirit of a picture saying a thousand words, here’s a heartfelt message from me to you – and from our collaborators in the human experiment. Enjoy “ Friends “, friends!

Thanks for reading,

Max


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