Saturday, February 5, 2011
The perfect anonymous corporate serf
Got the kids and their kids, a house, two cars and a wife, who hasn't left me yet, but I don't own any of it. You can't own people, even your family members in my neighborhood and the banks own everything else. So I continue to work to service the debt and remain the perfect TD customer. I just wish they had more of those comfy green chairs available, so I could at least relax when I deposit my bi-weekly interest payment.
But, anonymously blogging as Willy Loman, even as sparsely as I do, is a real break from reality and great for my soul. I can anonymously rant and rave, bear my grievances, state my case or just have fun. Blogging is my way out from under, so to speak. At least that was the case, until I read You are not A Gadget by Jaron Lanier, that book by the pool.
If you do not know Jaron, the dude in the picture, he is a fifty year old computer scientist, known as the father of Virtual Reality, as well as a whole whack of other geeky stuff. His book reads like a rant and is actually made up of a series of rants that he has published over the past ten years. These are rants about technology, the current state of the internet, the blogosphere and social networking in general, from someone who was around at the beginning and on the inside.
It is a difficult read and not written for the computer illiterate. Willy Loman is technically astute, meaning that I at least know the meaning of all the acronyms in order to sell the technology, and I have sold a lot of different technologies over the years, but Jaron is coming at you as computer scientist, code writer on steroids, so you really have to dig deep to follow his logic.
But logical he is. Jaron's biggest complaint and he admits that it goes against the flow of the current community of Silicon Valley gurus, that he is a member of, is that they are destroying the individual and if they do not change the direction of the current technologies, the technologies will become locked and future ways of expressing individual creativity will be lost. We will all be a modified version of the Borg's gallery of templates.
However his book is not all doom and gloom, he offers many ways that things can change, cool stuff. He also, almost nonchalantly includes little tidbits of cool stories about early engineering choices that were made along the way. As an example, in reference to blogging, he describes and laments about the decision to allow anonymous posting and how the blogosphere might be very different today with less hateful rants and more decorum, if we all had to take ownership of what we post or comment on.
On that theme or at least the darker side of that theme, Jaron believes, that we, as bloggers, tweeters etc., no matter how many hits we get or followers we have, are simply supplying data to the group think, that is controlled by the new corporate overlords, Google, FaceBook, Twitter and the like. We are currently no more than corporate serfs that at best provide searchable data.
And if Jaron is correct, which I think he is after spending four days reading and rereading paragraphs in the hot sun, blogging anonymously makes me nothing more than an anonymous corporate serf.
Hi you can call me Al and I will be back.