I posted the following picture on my Facebook wall this morning, having taken it off Aral Balkan's Twitterfeed a few minutes before. I did ponder the copyright issues of doing this and even tried to see where Aral had absorbed it from but gave up the chase...
Of course, one of my interlocutors on Facebook, Mark Howe, decided to query what I was saying and whether there is any truth in Google being the big problem, and anyway wasn't omniscience a good thing.
My response was as follows:
But the point of the picture is that Orwell's concept of state oppression is dwarfed by contemporary techno-commercial abuse of data and that while we think Facebook is the accepted common enemy, Google is the big issue and lurks above all else. I am happy that my God is omniscient but I am not prepared to make Google my God.
I am a big supporter of internet freedom and tend to agree with those prophets of doom such as Aral Balkan and Cory Doctorow and the Electronic Frontier Foundation who all take a slightly more sinister view of what the commercial internet companies are really up to. Certainly I think that Google's treatment of copyright issues and their mass scanning of knowledge in the hope to reach the Singularity a la Ray Kurzweil has immense issues for us as a human race - and I don't think I am just being a reactionary old f**t.
And, of course, a lot of my thinking is clouded by reading contemporary science fiction and that's not a very academic form of thinking, is it. Well, it keeps me happy...here are some of the more informative/the one's off the top of my head:
Daniel Wilson's books:
John Scalzi's Locked In
And the most awesome book I have read this year - Ernest Cline's Ready Player One - a book but the link takes you to whole Ready Player One experience zone...going to get lost there forever one day.
Here's the trailer for the H+ Series:
What's important is not that we all accept my point of view or Cory Doctorow's or Aral Balkan. It's actually important that we discuss it and talk about it and come to a mind before we find we are all swept up in a wave of revolutionary dystopia or conservative repression which we never saw coming.
If you are interested in my thinking on all this from a completely different perspective, I was asked to write a paper on Security and Privacy in a Digital Age which is to be discussed at the Methodist Council in Britian in the next few days. I wonder what they will make of it all?
And finally, finally, have you been to see this show at the Royal Court Theatre?