The news cycle
Before Bankman-Fried, other news dominated the news cycles.
Before that, a website emerged which was said would disrupt the social media industry and change the way people communicate – Club House. Club House, which emerged at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, immediately became a trend.
It was welcomed amid clamour as people scrambled to sign up to the platform. Since then, Club House has seemingly disappeared, with no one talking about it anymore.
An example closer to home is the new Arabic TV series Muawiyah about the life of the founder and first leader of the Ummayad Dynasty. Its recent announcement was followed by a barrage of sectarian-charged criticisms and arguments, even before the show premiered.
But wait. Let's not forget about ChatGPT.
The artificial intelligence-backed application is the new craze — with tons of articles being written about it every day.
A marketing tool
These phenomena are what the media and advertising sectors call "trends". A trend commonly refers to a popular topic that attracts readers, web surfers, viewers, or anyone deemed a "target audience" for presenting, promoting, and marketing goods, ideas, parties, and policies.
Voices that call for reason, reflection, and looking at alternative angles apart from what the roaring market machine proposes are more often than not ignored. An article by Noam Chomsky, Ian Roberts, and Jeffrey Watumul in The New York Times on the False Promise of ChatGPT and its shortcomings was also largely ignored.
The dominance of the "trend" has worsened since Theodore Adorno wrote about the "cultural industry" in the 1990s. At that time, industrialisation was taking place at the level of cinema, newspapers, and magazines in order to impose a particular pattern of social and, therefore, political control on the public.
With the digital revolution, it has become challenging to stay away from the grip of the "net," which is no longer a group of computers connected but a whole world that controls a person from the moment they wake up until they go to bed at night.
Science fiction movies about demonic dystopia societies in which machines control every detail of human life, their emotions and needs, show how machines take over human society.
We are not there yet, but this has not stopped humans from seeking to control other humans.
Impossible to escape
Escaping trends is impossible, then. They are carefully designed to encircle and confine people in a bid to "persuade" them to consume certain products, support certain politicians, believe in certain "truths," and to reject others.