Saturday, March 01, 2008

Open letter to Clem Bastow.

If you don't know who Clem Bastow is, you're basically an asshole.

We all know that my correspondences will be archived by history, in much the same way as those by Walther Gropius, Alma Mahler, Jesus of Nazareth. So I thought I'd save everyone some trouble and simply post one up here for all to see. Lucky!


Hi Clem,

I had a look at that 'singularity' group you joined What can I say? It piqued my interest!), and I wanted your take on something that has been preoccupying me lately.

It seems inevitable that biology and technology will eventually amalgamate, what with the speed at which both are hurtling toward each other. Driven by finance, security, and even sex (as usual), people seem to be asking for new tech without anything between them and it. Bill Gates predicted the imminent death of the keyboard (didn't he see 'Minority Report'?), and latex-skinned sex dolls now have voice synthesizers and motorised hips. There are rumours of an organic hard drive with billions of terabytes of memory, constructed by passing an electrical current (data) over a form of pond scum- your spirulina drink might be smarter than you. Besides, Fear Factory has made an entire career releasing albums on the topic (Demanufacture/Soul of a New Machine/Digimortal/Demanufacture, etc...), it would be disappointing for it not to happen.

The major payoff in melding tech with people, is obviously speed of interface, and, in the hopes of gamers and cybersex pioneers, a higher quality virtual reality- full immersion, direct brain connection, sensory bypass. But there is another payoff, related more to business, and therefore, much more important in the eyes of developers- enhanced communication. Mobile phones won't exist, we'll be hardwired to them, and will be able to call each other just by thinking about it, all at massive, high speeds, across vast distances, and with hilarious results when drunk or high.

So, we'll have a system whereby we will be more plugged-in and connected than ever before, able to share information from the internet with each other instantly (only it won't be the internet any more, it will be 'the collective consciousness'). It will be good for safety, in that we'll all be virtual GPS beacons, harder to kidnap while holidaying in El Salvador, it will be great for eBay and Amazon, and record/film companies will be well and truly dead in the water.

But do you see the not-so-perfect side (civil liberties aside) as well?

Two words- Gated. Communities.

Sure, it's fun to get together and dance/eat/listen to music/whatevz else, but isn't it nicer to call it a day and go home to your own space? Silence, privacy, peace.

Imagine that interrupted by:

A) An ad for the new hydrogen powered GM super vehicle, 1000 feet high across your visual cortex, starring Errol Flynn and The Rock, in 3D, with a soundtrack by Britney Spears' then teenage progeny.


B) Some random asshole Facebonk-poking you because they saw you on Rockwiz and thought it would be cool to grab your attention at 4 in the morning, when you were happily thinking about dinner at The Union, or wherever Zagat says is hip that week.

In short- I want to get FURTHER AWAY from people, not fucking connect myself to them permanently! It's like that horrendous Nicole Kidman/Daniel Craig movie that just came out, or maybe will come out soon. I have pirated CD's from Thailand, it's hard to know when things happen.

What do you think will happen? Will some opt-out, only to be left back in the dark ages by all the hardwired Google superminds? Would we really be free under such conditions? Will we be somehow easier to control? Will education/the school system even need to exist any more? Will we have a choice? Would any of us leave the house again?

In the parlance of circa 2002:



This is knifey, from 'the internet'.