For a long time now and certainly after the Pandora Papers leak by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists it has been apparent to me that closed systems are doomed—or should be.
The best things in life, the best techniques, the best words & phrases, the best people, are often those no one’s ever heard of. Kept hidden to protect institutional secrets of one sort of another. Protecting investment, reputation, but more often than not now, as has become apparent after scandals infinitum: corruption, incompetence, outright lies, conspiracy, and malfeasance of one sort or another.
Welcome to the machine.
Propaganda techniques—in development since, not only the dawn of industrialized communication, but the dawn of religion and language too: are tough to tussle with. And these are now at the very heart of what we are subject to, both in Western societies, in China, and really throughout the post-modern world.
Perhaps the best at getting past the veil, as maybe only Kafka novels had done back ’round the turn of the last century, had been Ivan Illich, but moving just a bit forward: who do we have now talking about now? A good start could be Corey Doctorow and not far behind him Jaron Lanier.
Because you must both understand and be immersed in bleeding edge software development as well as have honed linguistic/cultural antennae to get at the coming crossroads.
That is: all debate and power, now or soon, will either have a significant technical component, or will be all about technology—how it will be wielded and by whom.
The movie from a decade ago now Ex Machina really hits it—the moral dilemmas that an ever increasing technological sophistication brings, as it is wielded ultimately by an ever diminishing few.
The future of commerce—Amazon’s Echo devices, the Apple Watch, another wearable or e-payment method or cryptocurrency of some sort.
We are each participating in the technical construction of what Howard Bloom had called the Global Brain in one of his books, as well as creating its content daily—but where is the democracy?