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The Information-stream is the more surface level stream of information flow that most people are, on some level, aware of just by being exposed to it every day. It's the stream of articles, social media posts and private communications etc. that pervade the media and our private conversations. It's the medium that carries both information, misinformation and disinformation, but is also the layer where the distinction between the three is usually broken down/ignored or contested to no avail of meaningful global truth e.g: Epstein turning into nothing but a meme.
The Data-stream would be the more private and secretive transfers of user data between companies/corporations and governmental agencies, where they create psychological behavioural profiles for users/every citizen they have data on, for the sake of advertising or tracking individuals of interest etc. The datastream can only be accessed at priviledged points of entry - like certain protected servers at a company or network. The only people capable of seeing into the datastream would either be insiders involved in their corporate workings or skilled hackers/hacktivists who would break into those servers to snag certain datapoints of interest.
The information stream can be accessed and analysed by everyone, but many lack the time and resources to gain the proper perspective on a topic required to holistically verify its truth. This allows for the creation and spread of misinformation. The advent of the modern "clickbait news article" formula has resulted in the slow death of journalism, greatly diminishing the integrity of the incredibly important art. Journalists are required in a society to perform this "information sanitisation" service of analyzing and breaking down the various complexities of The Information Stream for the general public, who lack the resources to do so themselves. The lack of real journalists in the world will only continue to further empower the misinformation society and increase the power differential between the individual layman and the controllers - those in various positions of power who stand to gain, whether by coincidence or not, from a general confusion wrought by a diminishing sense of an organised collective consensus and general sense of objective truth in a society.
The Information Stream
The Information Stream is an abstraction of the combined general information flow within a society and the hierarchy of power that emerges from this. It is closely related to, but not to be confused with, The Data-stream.
The basics - What is Information Flow?
Every communication system is made up of 3 constituent parts. Within any system of communication, there are the means of communication being used, the communicators using those means of communication, and the information being relayed along those means by the aforementioned communicators.
In any given society, which is a collective or mass congregation of individuals, there is information flow. When any two agents communicate in any way, information (meaningful data) is being transferred from one node (the source, Bob) to another (the recipient, Alice). This is Information Flow.
Sometimes this information flow is between two agents (Alice & Bob) and sometimes it is between three or more agents, with one agent acting as a proxy between the two:
(Bob --> Candace --> Alice)
Sometimes there can be a chain of proxies rather than just one:
(Bob --> Candace --> Kyle --> Jason --> Alice)
which can be abstracted as:
(Bob --> proxy --> Alice).
By the very nature of the Information stream, every proxy has access to the same information as the intended recipient at the end of the chain. There is no part of the Information Stream that is hidden or obscured. It is by nature open to be read and analyzed by anyone participating within it.
To better illustrate this, imagine that Bob wanted to tell Alice that he saw the President committing tax fraud. If he was unable to directly contact Alice, but knew that his friend Kyle would probably meet her later, he could opt to use him as a proxy. By telling Kyle that he saw the President committing tax fraud, Kyle now has the complete informational package to give to Alice. Due to Alice & Bob not having previously established any form of cryptographic or steganographic system complex enough to get across these ideas through a proxy without said proxy needing to be privy to the full details of the information to be transferred, they must then turn that proxy (Kyle) into a fellow recipient so he can reliably pass on the full info package.
Extrapolating to a national level - applying the lens of nation states
Within a nation state, there is usually a state and a press (which is often susceptible to an obscure illness referred to as amissa spina - Not much is known about this debilitating disease, but you can help cure it by contributing to this wiki, as well as ProjHastings. "For only the price of a cup of coffee, you too, can help make journalistic integrity cool again") as well a populace, which consists of many agents, both possessing and utilizing their free will or lack thereof, who for reasons unknown, may sometimes easily be confused with sheep and/or cattle. (see figure 3 for examples).
There are events that take place - an objective chain of order to reality, known as The Truth. Oppressive governments, institutions, or malfeasant media corporations in particular, might attempt to disseminate false narratives to muddy the waters of The Truth as is understood by the populace, thus creating a false narrative that better serves the corrupt heads of state and media than it does the people. One which is then seen as the truth by perhaps the majority of society, but might not really be The Truth, as it may not be entirely representative of reality, thusly whatever they wanted covered up remains unknown and thus unquestioned by the polity. Though thanks to whistle-blowers and the occasional act of competent journalism, it is usually the case that The Truth gets out eventually, though this is far from guaranteed.
Understanding it as a power hierarchy
The power hierarchy within a nation state is, supposedly in democratic regimes, that the government is answerable to the people, through the press, and is therefore below the public in the power hierarchy. But, through state managed propaganda and an unrestrained private intelligence sector, governments can fund propagandist ventures and dissident disruption campaigns that help them subvert and gain back control over the people, pulling the strings from behind the scenes so-to-speak. Through intimidating journalists, they undermine the true purpose of a free press and the result is a nation where the press is too cowardly to oppose the state and would-be protestors are occupied with less meaningful pursuits than the ones that are truly impactful in bringing about the change they so desire in the long-run. Properly grasping the power balance within this hierarchy is important for understanding how this all fits together.
Within any power hierarchy, at the top echelons sit the controller(s), the agents who have control over the direction, both present and future, of the overall system bound by the respective power hierarchy they play a role in. Within the context of a nation state, China, for instance; Head chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, (at the time of writing and likely until he's stabbed in the back, Winnie the Pooh) is the highest level controller within the Chinese system. His subordinates or advising committees or anyone at that similarly high level of authority would also be considered a controller, albeit not as influential, but a controller nonetheless. Controllers can be people, institutions or any kind of entity that either has or represents agency within a system while holding authority over the majority if not the total dominion of said system.
Therefore, in the context of a nation state, in this example, a supposedly democratic state that has such subversive powers, gains back it's title of controller from the free press or populous that would otherwise have held the title collectively. Thereby rendering it somewhat of a Puppet Democracy.
General Information flow within a nation's information stream
Under the exemplary model of a Puppet Democracy as outlined above, Information flow within such a nation would be an event or press release or any kind of statement given either verbally or through action by a state, representing something that can be communicated that is alleged by the communicator to represent reality. This informational package is then passed along from the controller (the subversive state that secretly holds the most power) to routers/mass information disseminators/broadcasters (journalists, news sources, influencers etc.) that it controls through subversion (intimidation, corruption, culture etc.) who then release the informational package onto their respective platforms (Newspapers, social media, the general internet of the age of Surveillance Capitalism and the age of disinformation), and is then consumed by users (the everyday consumer of media/entertainment/news/products&services) who act as endpoint recipients but also then function as minor broadcasters themselves, disseminating the informational package through word of mouth, further enforcing the reverence for the authority of the routers and the power structure of the controllers.
The controller controls routers, which choose which information to share on a platform, these routers disseminate the allegedly reality-bearing informational package to individual users.
-e.g of a controller: A governmental institution such as an intelligence agency or an economically or otherwise culturally powerful corporation.
-e.g of a router: journalists/news sources/influencers/popular media.
-e.g of a platform: Social Media/the internet of the age of surveillance capitalism and the age of disinformation.
-e.g of a user: The everyday consumer of media/entertainment/news/products and services. The recipient of information which has passed through a system of control and may now become a minor agent of dissemination for this information within that user's circles.
This article is possible thanks to the contributions made to the now defunct thinktank: Anti-Dystopia group/Project Anti-Mass Surveillance. Thank you to anyone who was a part of it.
Summary infographic originally devised by user: Reason-5.
Article originally written by user: K3475