It’s interesting to think back, from a distance of thirty years, on the once iconic quote from 1984 that I posted yesterday (I changed only one word). Obviously the people who wrote those words were deliberately echoing George Orwell, and riffing on the significance of the year 1984.
But those were more innocent times. The Web was still a good decade away, and few could have predicted that a clever ad for a personal computer — sold as a symbol of personal choice and an icon of freedom from the hegemony of Corporate America — would actually prefigure a very different future.
In the wake of the Snowden revelations, we are all reassessing that dream. In this country, conservatives tend to mistrust power in the hands of government, and liberals tend to mistrust power in the hands of corporations. But now we all have common cause — there is plenty of mistrust to go around. Somebody has our data, and we’re trying to figure out just how scary that is.
The idea that more technology is better is indeed, as that ad from thirty years ago put it, a garden of pure ideology. Alas, we don’t always get to decide what grows in the garden.