I apologize if this question is not in a good format for this Stack Exchange, but I am mostly looking for a name, that I wrote on a scrap of paper and lost.

I became interested in this contemporary philosopher, who I am pretty sure is French or English, because of the idea that in our age (of globalisation, social networking, etc) it is possible to build a dictatorship not by controlling access to information, but controlling the sheer mass of information to the point in which it becomes noise and hence is functionally equivalent to having no information.

If someone can provide the name for this philosopher, or identify this idea as a school of thought, or as a trend, I would be much appreciated.

Any corrections to my formulation of this idea are also appreciated.

  • that sounds really really interesting, can you link me to the idea you mention, not just the philosopher in question ? – user6917 Jan 9 '15 at 3:32
  • I don't know if this is enough to "link you to the idea", but I've added a translation of a page in the book in my answer. – Joao Tavora Jan 10 '15 at 18:19

Alain de Botton, in the first pages of "News, a User's Manual". See http://alaindebotton.com/news-users-manual/

EDIT: here's a (very poor) translation of page 32 in the portuguese edition of this book:

A contemporary dictator that wishes to consolidate his power need not do anything as sinister as forbiding news. He merely has to ensure that the information media diffuse a flux of bulletins which are random in tone and in great numbers, but with little explanation of the context, following an ever-changing agenda, without any measure of relevance given to the moment of an issue that had seemed urgent just a while ago, and all of this intertwined with constant updates about the impressive abilities of killers and movie stars. This would be more than enough to mine the people's ability to capture the political reality - as well as any determination that they otherwise could have had to change it.

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