Visa Restrictions On The Internet

While I acknowledge that internet is the biggest game changer of the human history, it is still not what it was supposed to be or what it can be.

In the offline world, all humans aren’t born equal. They are born in certain conditions where their lives are driven by their socioeconomic circumstances. Their lives are dictated by their place of birth and half of what they can and can’t do is written in the stone. Sure they can break the chains and the barriers to come out stronger but that happens very seldom.

On the internet, everyone has the same opportunities. In theory, though. You could get on YouTube and make a living regardless of where you live. Hundred of millions of people have benefited from such global opportunities that didn’t exist 30 years ago. But these global opportunities are still not provided equally to everyone, although they are marketed as such always.

For example, YouTube first launched their monetization partner program in 2006 for select countries but it wasn’t until 2016 that this program was launched in Pakistan.

Facebook restricts fresh Pakistani ad accounts at Rs 1000/day spend ($6.46 on today’s exchange rate) while a fresh US account is restricted at $50/day spend. Restrictions are lifted more quickly for the developed world, and less quickly for the emerging world. The scrutiny of AI is much harsher for us than it is for the developed world.

In summary, AI is no different than the visa issuing officers that judge us more than our counterparts elsewhere in the world.

On the bright side, in the offline world, if you try hard enough, you can sometimes circumvent these restrictions. You can sometimes emigrate or obtain a better travel document by meeting certain criteria or just by wanting to have it bad enough.

Since internet is almost always better than the offline world in every regard, you can also circumvent a lot of these restrictions if you try hard enough. In fact, on the internet, like everything else, this circumvention is often not as hard as in the offline world.

Perhaps, we’ll talk more of this circumvention in another blog.