BY RAYMOND BOIN TOMBUNG
CONGRATULATIONS to our President, DSP Dr. Jeffrey G. Kitingan, the top leaders and party members on the success of the STARSABAH Convention n July 1, 2023! (It was held on the first of the seventh year, on the Saturday, the seventh day of the week, and 2+0+2+3 = 7). The organising committee succeeded in putting together a party event which was full of camaraderie, rousing and inspiring, raising the party spirit to a new high.
The celebrative atmosphere of the event was obviously one of high confidence and pride, celebrating the party’s success in becoming a senior partner in the ruling government. The convention’s slogan “STARSABAH 2030 & Beyond” invokes images of the future and challenges us to visualise the party marching boldly into the new word of the future a decade or two from now.
We missed the opportunity to emphasize on the importance of this slogan in the convention. Someone should have given a speech on the great significance of the slogan, and what the party should dream for and strategise on in preparation for the mostly unknown future. Perhaps another convention or seminar should be held to deliberate and thrash out the challenges and opportunities awaiting us ten years or more from today.
We are now entering the future in a way that follows the old pattern of going along with the trends, reacting to circumstances with very little power to influence events or to modify or redirect any trend. But we should at least be acutely aware that the future is already here, having ushered new technologies which are forcefully reforming ideas and ways, and making obsolete the old orders.
In the convention itself we see the digital screening of videos without the use of a projector, which is something unheard of a few years ago. And yeah, I thought why didn’t we think of projecting the speakers live on the screen while they were giving speeches? It would have given the speeches so much more impact!
Soon screen videos will be in 3D. In fact the latest most advanced wonder today involves the use of 5D and 7D projection technology, enabling us to see gigantic creatures moving in the open space without the use of any screen. In the near future speakers can be projected 3D in the sky or appear in the middle of the living room. With the ease and realism in remote projections, politicians will be judged even more on their look, hence the more photogenic ones will have the advantage of appearing to have more charisma.
Let’s see more ways technology will disrupt politics:
1. FAKE NEWS
The handy use of digital technology enables even home-bound operators to produce videos to spread fake news, even fake speeches by leaders (using the Deepfake app).
Videos can also be produced showing leaders in compromising positions to create fake (cleverly edited) scandalous activities such in illicit sexual acts. Such media materials can influence the public and thus cause good leaders to lose elections and help the wrong people to win.
2. NOWHERE TO HIDE
The new information technology (IT) is now so efficient that all political misdeeds are revealed without any respect for the culprits. Lies by leaders are laid bare for attacked by the people. Revelations by whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden to Julian Assange exposed the most embarrassing national and international secrets, including supposedly hidden loots from corruption, e.g. Pandora Papers and Panama Papers.
Today political manipulation with lies and half-truths is difficult to hide unlike in the past when the words of politicians were taken as gospel truths. As such ignorant politician wannabes find it hard to make a headway in campaigns, hence raising the academic standard of leaders. The rise of social media has transformed the way political messages are disseminated, campaigns are conducted and public opinion is shaped. In the future, online platforms may become even more influential, potentially amplifying both positive and negative aspects of political discourse.
Voters have become so much smarter. With the speed of communication with apps like Whatsapp, Telegram and Facebook, the people can respond to political statements to support or oppose in an instant. There is no more room for liars and con artists.
3. AI AND AUTOMATION
Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) will have significant implications for politics. AI-powered systems could assist in policy analysis, campaign management, and decision-making processes. Even complex mathematical calculations can be executed while correspondences and speeches can now be generated within seconds with open AI apps such as CharGPT.
Automation will reduced the cost of campaigns and staffing of political operations centres.
4. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY
Blockchain, the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, offers potential for secure and transparent voting systems. By utilizing blockchain, elections could become more resistant to fraud and manipulation, enhancing the integrity and trustworthiness of democratic processes.
5. CYBERSECURITY CHALLENGES
As technology advances, the risks associated with cybersecurity threats and hacking will increase. Protecting critical infrastructure, political campaigns, and sensitive data will be crucial to maintain the integrity of political systems in the future.
6. DIRECT DEMOCRATIC PROCESS AND CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT
Technology has the potential to facilitate direct participation in decision-making processes, allowing citizens to have a more active role in shaping policies. Online platforms and tools could enable broader public engagement and collaborative governance.
7. ONLINE INCOMES
The rise of opportunities for people to earn income online will be a boon for political supporters. Many today earn online incomes higher than the salaries of senior government servants. Sabah Youtbers earn tens of thousands of ringgits per month. The highest Malaysia Youtube earners rake in over RM100,000 per month! These incomes, when received by party senior and junior leaders, will have a significant impact on their party’s performances. In fact STARSABAH should now embark on giving courses for its members to acquire the skill to earn money online.
8. AI –AIDED INVESTMENTS
Digital technology now offers investments opportunities which ride on cyrptocurrencies and stock market price fluctuations. Because they are monitored and moved in trades by AI or robots, *the returns are consistent*. Again the party should conduct courses to interested members to train them to harvest profits from online investment opportunities. While enhancing the economic status of many, these investment opportunities will also attract a host of new members to further strengthen the party.
Of course, there are more ways in which technology will disrupt or enhance political movements. More will be revealed as time progresses and new technologies come into the scene. Politics, as all aspects of life, continue to be alive and in a flux because of continuous innovations in science and technology. The future, indeed, still has a lot to reveal in the days to come…
July 3, 2023