Infocentrism Wants Free Reign ! ( Part 2 )


{ Part 2 of 3 (?)… Part 1 is here }


Analyzing Cory Doctorow’s Info-ex-centrisms

We’re still processing the rapid-fire concepts of Cory Doctorow, who spoke at the JCCSF last week. The auditorium was oddly empty due to a scheduling mishap pitting a crucial discussion on the future of culture and technology ( in the land of silicon vulture capitalism ) against the un-worldly televised opiate spectacle of ( billionaire-franchised ) baseball.

Everything about this presentation of his new book – Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free ” ( out in a couple weeks on McSweeney’s ) strikes us as being misaligned with addressing or resolving the sociological upheavals in the current climate of a voracious technocentric appetite.

The evening concluded with an XLterrestrials’ analyst question regarding this aggressive quest to turn the world into an anthropocentric and computational dysneytopia, at our fingertips.

” We would like to examine this notion of the internet as our – society’s – ‘central nervous system ‘ and your claim that EVERYTHING we do will be with computers. Let’s put it this way, many things that we love to do have absolutely NOTHING to do with computers! For example, we love to go on hikes in Muir Woods (or wherever) , have spicy feasts with our most cherished friends, swim in the undersea worlds teeming with the richest territories of bio-diversity ( for how long? ) etc, etc. And currently, the majority of time swallowed by computer screens seems to distract, distance us from, and disrupt so many of our lives’ most precious aims.

Having just seen Citizen Four on whistleblower Edward Snowden’s jaw-dropping alarms, and having for a long time now observed that we are digging ourselves into a terrifying datacentric bunker hole, why on earth would you imagine plunging ourselves ever deeper into a man-made (and corporate-controlled ) technological labyrinth is a good idea, and even, in a rather fanatical directive, calling it THE “inexorable future” for EVERYONE ? “ an XLterrestrials analyst

Cory’s answer began with some meandering counterpoint that by having a GPS device in the woods will make that experience safer, more enabled, empowered, incredible. Our initial impression was: wow, we never knew how dangerous being on a trail in Marin was ;) … We kind of stopped listening to the answer, b/c he hadn’t really grasped our critique, or he intentionally chose to dodge our concerns … But for sure there’s much much more to digest in this discussion, and to question just how  flawed? the reasoning and logic of Cory’s positions and visions for the future might be. And how dangerous ?!

Some incredible articles relevant to this conversation, and perhaps the position Doctorow plays within it:

Conversation with Spanish social critic César Rendueles by Geert Lovink

The Meme Hustler By Evgeny Morozov

The Creepy New Wave Of The Internet by Sue Halpern

Charles Stross on why the Singularity is … bunk.

Note: We expanded the XLT analyst question to give it the full weight of what was on our minds. We will attempt to give Cory’s response an extended consideration as soon as we have time to review it.  JCCSF archives all talks, and both Cory and David Pescovitz from Boing Boing graciously gave audiences at the outset of the talk full reign to use it.

to be cont.

Added: We’ve been  unable to come back to this, but no doubt Cory’s controversial perspectives will be returning as important territory to analyze… Here’s the archive of his JJCSF w/ David Pescovitz in November, 2014.

And even more recent is his latest talk at Re:publica 2015 in May. Cory Doctorow: The NSA are not the Stasi: Godwin for mass surveillance, which points again to his very peculiar, and/or infuriating, focus on a computer-centric culture. And a strangely flawed title, which he never really explains.

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