I wandered into Google’s Movie & TV Store hoping but not at all expecting to find True Detective. I figured it was a long shot – it’s not on iTunes and won’t be out on DVD till June – but there it was, looking somewhat out of place next to The Big Bang Theory and The Vampire Diaries.
I’ve learned to be wary, though, so even as I clicked through to buy the first episode I thought it was likely that they’d throw up the all too familiar geographical restrictions error. One minute later, however, and I was watching the actual thing – listening to the actual words.
They only play in SD on a computer and you have to stream them, but I’m happy just to be able to watch them at all. Not perfect, but it’ll do for now.
We haven’t seen yet what a truly bad government is capable of doing with modern information technology. What the good ones get up to is terrifying enough.
I’m not saying we can’t have the fun next-generation Internet, where everyone wears stupid goggles and has profound conversations with their refrigerator. I’m just saying we can’t slap it together like we’ve been doing so far and expect everything to work itself out.
The good news is, it’s a design problem! You’re all designers here – we can make it fun! We can build an Internet that’s distributed, resilient, irritating to governments everywhere, and free in the best sense of the word, like we dreamed of in the 90’s. But it will take effort and determination. It will mean scrapping permanent mass surveillance as a business model, which is going to hurt. It will mean pushing laws through a sclerotic legal system. There will have to be some nagging.
But if we don’t design this Internet, if we just continue to build it out, then eventually it will attract some remarkable, visionary people. And we’re not going to like them, and it’s not going to matter.
This is a sliver of Maciej Cegłowski’s talk from this year’s Webstock – partly an examination of the life and career of Lev Termen (inventor of, among other things, the Theremin) and partly a rant against the advertising driven “centralized version of the Internet based on permanent surveillance”.
It’s best to imagine Cegłowski on a stage saying these words while reading. He has a refreshingly human giving-a-talk speaking style that is very different from how most people talk when they’re in front of a bunch of people. Watch Thoreau 2.0, his contribution to XOXO, to get an idea of what I mean.