Savage Farming

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

2008: World of Tomorrow

So freezing cold, 24F out there with a steady life-sapping breeze. Inside I am and reading the data stream from Google Reader.

Stock markets, Fed interest rates, Russian missile tests, new drugs, new diseases, science discoveries, claims of breakthrough-inventions, political games, political flames, political names, political blames and the weather.

So many forms of tyranny. To use Mr. Putin's retro-cold war military disco dancing as an example. How gauche! How passé! Mr. Amadenijad, Mr. Bush, Mr. Chavez, Mr. Putin; these are all tyrants in the technical sense. They exercise power with their choices over their people and the world, for better or worse. Like most humans their focus of attention is narrowly jammed into their specialty, the use of power. The cost of this narrowed focus is that like the rest of us they will occasionally overlook the storm shift that is coming towards their focus.

There is a distinct knew agent acting in the human world easily overlooked.

It's all the rest of us.

The internet and assorted webs built on it connect more people than any one country is populated by. All of those people have access to the same uniform information resource (except for a few who haven't figured out how to easily and safely circumvent government interdiction). Our responses to this information form an ever growing, involving and evolving zeitgeist wherein we sift, sort and mull the assorted truths.

As hours, days, weeks, months go by this "Internet country" ferments these truths into global policy plans and decisions. These choices are largely indifferent to strident demands of the old tyrant system and since they are taken into affect by a diffuse and ubiquitous membership these policies are largely irresistible. Due to their diffuse and pervasive source, the decision are also largely uninfluencable.

No wonder Putin and the rest are acting all psycho. They've recently been warned and are still getting over the shock of having to change their drawers.

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  • Just looked at a topo map of Rogue Valley via Google Maps. Reminds me of the oasis of flat I used to see traveling from Bosie to McCall as a kid. Always thought it'd be a good life to summer cattle there and, somehow being independently wealthy, to winter in other places. But my independent wealth is late in arriving and I'm smacking on middle age here in the middle United States in the nontropolis of my birth.

    And that's a roundabout way of bringing up a story from Wired magazine I just read.

    I've been banging on about how the Internet does just the things you say it will do in this post and how it should be liberating for those of us in the hinterland. Yet Tim Harford points out in Wired:

    "Technology makes it more fun and more profitable to live and work close to the people who matter most to your life and work. Harvard economist Ed Glaeser, an expert on city economies, argues that communications technology and face-to-face interactions are complements like salt and pepper, rather than substitutes like butter and margarine. Paradoxically, your cell phone, email, and Facebook networks are making it more attractive to meet people in the flesh."

    So place sparce in population shall remain so because, by definition, these are places that fewer people find the value of like-minded souls and friends and family worth sticking close to?

    Getting on the same page via technology, it seems, won't mean that we will get together. And sadly, the yoke of remotness has yet to lift.

    By Blogger Steve F, at 11:21 AM  

  • Hi Steve f,

    Dude, what does any of that have to do with what I wrote? It's like your going on about something else entirely, like you picked out three or four words from my article and then thought that was all it was about.

    Nothing you typed has even a remote connection to my posting, please go back and read it again.

    You get a C- for relevancy.

    By Blogger The Guy, at 6:28 PM  

  • Right-o, a deserved C. Multiple windows of blog responses at the same time make for amalgamations of thought and in the end, what appears to be a bit of comment spam. Sorry.

    As for your post here, I like the notion that there is a multitudinous gaze toward the powerful, and that it will have its effect. But will IP reverse populism be any different from the terrestrial flavor of actual populism? The difference between an agent promising to give the people what they want and the people getting what they want through some kind of aggregated direct demand is slight. I think you're dead on about the distillation of political and cultural ideas via the connections (sans any political border) these interwebs provide, but so long as we are a herd (even in the cloud) tyrants will survive, don't you think?

    By Blogger Steve F, at 4:48 AM  

  • No I don't think so (mostly out of sheer cussedness). Are you, perchance, a neo-Luddite?

    It's not a matter of "survive" it's a matter of leveraging control over the populace's choices.

    Every human being is a tyrant to some degree. The mass mind forces a level playing field. The agents of the mass mind can be anyone who is influenced by its "thoughts". A lot of what I'm trying to point out is statistical in nature, driven more by trends than distinct events.

    This exposes the mega-tyrants to a totally unpredictable and concise force.

    The day that Moore's law makes mesh-network cell phones cheap enough to put in cereal boxes or drop from airplanes is the day that all the old politics of tyranny comes to an end. The human race can get along just fine without it.

    Not that this will be some sort of utopia mind you; the same old human garbage will go on. But you can't fool all of the people all of the time anymore.

    By Blogger The Guy, at 8:16 AM  

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