[iDC] The "electricity" of near future participation (p1)

John Hopkins jhopkins at commspeed.net
Tue Oct 10 14:24:49 EDT 2006

this is many postings late in the discussion, I 
forgot to send it while on the road...  but...

Hi Trebor...

I still don't get how the reality of the COMMAND 
AND CONTROL system necessary to do ALL these 
things recedes to near-invisibility in the 

All this stuff rests on a very real, very humanly 
constructed and controlled system.  Someone runs 
it, someone decides how it is used, someone 
decides what to do with all the data (required to 
run it), etc, etc, etc...

And I don't think that someone is you (as 
consumer).  There is the illusion of control at 
the consumer end, but I think that illusion is 
akin to the illusion of the junkie being in 
control of the heroin fix he uses...

The future, the now, and the then look the same 
because there are fundamental principles still 
operating behind the materialist curtain that 
obscures our vision.  I think the principles 
relate to human nature and how the process of 
socialization proceeds (and to what ends 
collective systems coalesce and project their 
collective energies).

When there is an end of war, then we may find 
that all our competitive memory enhancing labor 
saving devices are redundant -- we can sit with 
other humans who in our immediate vicinity and 
live lives of connection and generosity rather 
than alienation & greed..

>What would an emancipatory relationship with a networked object look
>like? Should we assume that there would be no exploitation of labor, no
>class differences, no poverty, no people without heath insurance, and no
>people without access to hardware or the network of networks in that
>near future scenario? What would a "unaligned alliance" of networked
>objects look like?

I think those would be naïve assumptions in a 
system that would have necessary and sufficient 
command-and-control to maintain order over all 
the things.

Just imagine the energy/power consumption if all 
the world's population had cellphones, computers, 
remote control interfaces, gps units, and all the 
attendant things that you assume -- if there was 
a global infrastructure bearing that level of 
development, the resources of the world would be 
exhausted in short order.  Emancipation?  we have 
not yet managed to do this with human-to-human 
connections, why should the projection of that 
concept onto material objects be somehow less 
fraught with the problematic nature of the 
creators of such systems?

Unaligned Alliance -- you mean principalities of 
networked objects?  Then I would suggest a 
re-reading of Machiavelli to sketch the general 
set of interactions between unaligned systems 
(since they are not autonomous of human 

Should discussions of technological potential be 
laudatory 50% and critical 50% -- or some other 


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