Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

decentralized media, contd.

Related to my previous discussion on "decentralized media", Grant posted a followup with many good comments and Rahul, in the comments, added a link to his BlogNN idea.

And--what do you know. Today William Gibson (only two days ago I was commenting on the excellent Pattern Recognition...) has an op-ed in the New York Times that is about other ramifications of this topic: The Road to Oceania. Quote:

Orwell knew the power of the press, our first mass medium, and at the BBC he'd witnessed the first electronic medium (radio) as it was brought to bear on wartime public opinion. He died before broadcast television had fully come into its own, but had he lived I doubt that anything about it would have much surprised him. The media of "1984" are broadcast technology imagined in the service of a totalitarian state, and no different from the media of Saddam Hussein's Iraq or of North Korea today technologically backward societies in which information is still mostly broadcast. Indeed, today, reliance on broadcasting is the very definition of a technologically backward society.

Elsewhere, driven by the acceleration of computing power and connectivity and the simultaneous development of surveillance systems and tracking technologies, we are approaching a theoretical state of absolute informational transparency, one in which "Orwellian" scrutiny is no longer a strictly hierarchical, top-down activity, but to some extent a democratized one. As individuals steadily lose degrees of privacy, so, too, do corporations and states. Loss of traditional privacies may seem in the short term to be driven by issues of national security, but this may prove in time to have been intrinsic to the nature of ubiquitous information.

While his article is more tilted towards privacy, the discussion on decentralized media meshes with it. Ramifications can probably be found for most things, although information dissemination and privacy are the most pressing matters at the moment (only until we've gotten used to the new situation though :)), and this is a consequence of Media being not just an ever-growing part of life but, in some cases, or for some people, more important than life itself. And if you don't think that's possible, consider how media (before, during, and after the Iraq war) has affected people's lives beyond their involvement, even beyond their knowledge.

Posted by diego on June 25 2003 at 5:20 PM

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