My dear reader,
Technology makes it possible to deal alone with problems that we would never have had together.
Tomorrow we will have an electronic ankle bracelet like in South Korea today (already 57,000 “distributed”) and we will have it because of the general distrust between us and the drift of degenerate authoritarian states.
In the absence of mutual trust, we will rely on technology.
But it’s not a stopgap, not even an ersatz.
Share this letter, it is important: send it to your address book, share it on social networks. We cannot be fooled so easily.
If only we had trusted our government which is never but our emanation, our relatives, in the literal sense of the term and more generally our fellow citizens, all those with whom we share our French citizenship, this “community of destiny” according to the word from Philippe Séguin.
Community of destiny. Until a few weeks ago, the term could have seemed quite abstract. It is not anymore. Whether we face this crisis together or not, we will share the consequences.
Note the correlation between the countries that fare best and confidence in their governments during the crisis: Sweden, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands.
Not so much discipline as confidence
It was not the countries that took the most drastic measures the quickest.
Switzerland, for example, applies less severe measures than France, each time with several days of delay. And yet the situation in the canton of Vaud was at least as severe as in neighboring Alsace and yet they were not overwhelmed (Lausanne and Geneva have the same population density as Strasbourg).
I live in Switzerland and if the shops are closed, we are not confined. The canton of Vaud has distributed 400 fines since the start of confinement against 700,000 in France, a ratio of 1 to 20 for the same population.
What an injustice that those who respect the most drastic measures are not rewarded for their efforts.
And don’t think the Swiss are more disciplined. 40% of the population of Vaud is not Swiss, with Portuguese and French as the first contingents of immigrants and nothing that I have observed has allowed me to conclude that there is greater discipline.
Discipline no, but confidence yes, everywhere on all floors.
In Switzerland, we had not thrown away the stocks of masks, we never ran out of equipment, we did not spit a lie in front of people and a second time pretending that it was to protect them on their own, no attempt was made to minimize the problem by avoiding testing.
No one has exercised the right of withdrawal or made a sick leave, the post office is functioning normally as well as all the services remained open like notaries.
And it’s not through a smartphone app.
Technology is the new opium of the people and scientism our religion
No, it’s not through a smartphone app.
However, now that we have to realize our destitution, if we don’t admit it, we are relying on technology and more broadly science, I should say scientism: vaccine, virological tests,
Digital immune “passport”, tracking applications…
We have never found a vaccine against a coronavirus in 20 years of research, and even if we did find one, it would still have to be effective for the large quarantine of strains of SARS-CoV-2 already identified as well than all the other mutations to come.
The virological tests so awaited in order to deconfinate the immune populations do not yet exist and a simple application of Bayesian statistics shows that with a virological test reliable at 95% (according to the objectives of the WHO), you will deconfinate 2 times less people who are really immune than people who can catch and spread the virus .
We are far from a somewhat effective immune passport. Testing is very effective for targeted containment, but it is largely useless for deconfining.
We now come to the famous plotting application: StopCovid.
This application would be praised by 62% of French people but as usual, the survey was tampered with. A public poll is a piece of propaganda, never news.
Example of gross opinion manipulation
I worked in a Parisian communication agency and I can read a survey according to the intentions of the person who ordered it.
I found myself in a meeting with polling institutes, I could see how it was going, how we explained to the pollsters the answers that we hoped to find to our questions and how, oh genius of the communicators, our “intuitions” were systematically confirmed.
Here, the StopCovid app survey was commissioned by Leyton, an international innovation consultancy.
These people have posted a complete file “Tech acts against the Covid-19″.
Do you think they wanted a poll that said we didn’t particularly want their innovation? Would they have paid for a survey that they cannot then present to their customers to sell similar projects to them? You can smell the scam only at the sponsor.
Manipulating my dear reader, this is not to make you believe that tracing is good for you, it is enough to make you believe that everyone thinks that tracing is good for them and for you and that you are the only ones to worry. It’s very different.
And it’s very easy to do, just look in detail at the question asked:
“The government plans to offer a voluntary tracking and tracking application like the one implemented in South Korea. Concretely, contaminated or not, the people who download this application could know in real time the places at risk, would be alerted if they were in contact with affected people and would communicate via the application their geolocation. ”
There are two huge cognitive biases in this question that invalidate the survey (and a pollster knows better than anyone what cognitive bias is).
First there is a halo effect. By proposing an application “like in South Korea”, the pollster capitalizes on the image of good management of the crisis by Korea. It doesn’t matter that Korea’s results are more related to the breadth of testing and the health habits of Koreans.
If the Koreans do it, it must be good and it doesn’t matter that Korea was a dictatorship until 1997 and has kept a number of its practices until today.
On the other hand, they did not ask you if you were in favor of an electronic health bracelet for all the sick and confined. However, this is what South Korea has just done by forcing 57,000 people to wear an electronic bracelet for fear that they will leave their phones at home and not respect their confinement.
Second bias, we mix two largely independent subjects: knowing the risky places on one side and knowing if we have been in contact with patients on the other.
Of course we would like to know the places at risk “in real time” but you do not need to be traced to obtain the places at risk, only the patients must be and again, nothing says that it does not not enough to map the homes of the sick.
But from there to receive an alert because we would have been in contact with a patient … Would that be only reliable? Today, significant equipment is required to be able to locate a telephone precisely (indoor real-time high precision localization or RTLS). Otherwise the margins of error are of the order of ten meters.
A bad misery of our poverty
Especially for such a measure to be effective … We would still have to know who is sick, that is to say mass testing, which we still do not do. South Korea is shown as an example? They have set up street booths that allow you to be tested and have the result in 7 minutes.
How about we start there? If we start by looking at the effects of a real test policy before we put on electronic bracelets
But it requires organization, logistics, efficiency … Qualities that our government has completely lacked since the start of this crisis.
Would it be up to us to pay for their incompetence?
They have not shown themselves to be worthy of our trust, so they intend to do without it by putting a thread to our paw.
But technology is not a stopgap. Technology is not good or bad by nature, it is just a tool.
Technology is a simple resonance chamber which increases our vices as much as our virtues.
A fool with a tool is still a fool / a fool with a tool is always a fool.
What matters, oh we know, is trust.
As Peyrefitte wrote in Le Mythe de Pénélope:
“Trust is the hidden law of the human condition; the intimate structure of social matter. Unshakable confidence is the secret of great actions: for those who do not despair, fate can turn around. Trust creates the future it expects; it turns lost battles into won wars. ”
It is fashionable in France for our leaders to mock their unpopularity as a virtue of the master who knows better than the servant what is good for him.
Except that this distrust today kills thousands and foreshadows many others.
Where to start
I have no miracle recipe for regaining confidence. It doesn’t take a few days or a nice speech, whatever he thinks, to restore a quarter of a century of sabotage of our confidence.
But it would be too easy to put everything on the backs of those above.
We know that there is a symmetry between the organization of a nation and that of its homes (read Emmanuel Todd on this subject, he sucks in politics but he is a very good demographer and his river work on structures family is important).
Let’s start by building that trust between us, our homes, our neighborhoods, our families.
Surprisingly, mathematics has interesting things to teach us, this will be the subject of my letter tomorrow.
In any case, they want to find global solutions to the crisis, global, undifferentiated. They want more globalization, more indifferentiation. We know today that the reverse is effective.
For your investments this means turning to the local, which is close to you, not Apple but the successful SME in your region. For this, I recommend that you do not entrust your money to bankers and economists but directly to the most promising companies in your region: here’s how.
To your good fortune,