Technological pendulums

Posted on: 2015-11-09 06:53:47

I believe the future of technology is very much a return to simplicity that it seems like every generation or two we end up harkening back to. Modernity, for all of its marvels, feels like it is teetering on collapse. Personally, I see this in all over our society which can't seem to make up it's mind on what it wants. And if modern society could be defined by anything at this time, it'd be by a form of self-opposing delusion. People want security guaranteed by the government and also personal privacy. People want full personal autonomy to live their life as they see fit yet and yet feel obliged to force other's hands using the government when they find it hard to do so. We want the government to be a club for our cause yet so many forget the truth source and purpose of that government.

As it is with society, so also with technology with which society is so intertwined. We want blazing fast, ubiquitous, uninterrupted service but we want it delivered to us without any of the hard work which is required to build and maintain those services. And when a company like AT&T, Time Warner, or Grande Communications provides those services, someone will inevitably complain and emphatically declare what they want and why they are right and why they, the customer, is always right. I suppose we do truly live in an age of consumerism—where the customer is always right. And guess what? We are all customers now.

The pendulum has swung away from the BBSes of old: where groups of individuals combined their efforts to create autonomous, distributed, and personal networks of systems that were capable of transferring email across the world before the internet was in every home, so now it beckons to swing back the other direction. Yes, the pendulum is now seemingly at the very opposite of end of its swing. Where we are now is in an age of consumer demanded centralization: give me one store, one medium, one device that does everything. If it stops working or breaks, I'll throw it away and find another. And if I want it to continue to work, I'll pay exorbitant sums so that someone else can take care of it.

And what do we get for this? Little (if any) privacy. Being at the whim of masked men who wield digital armies and can take down your business for seemingly any reason.