Technology

I am writing next to a typewriter dating from the 1950s and if I had the choice, I would use such a device in preference to this advanced laptop every time. I am, however, interested in both the possibilities and the dangers of technology.

Beside me now, I also have a Samsung phone running on Android. Given the choice, I would be running CopperHead OS or would not have a mobile phone at all. I believe that technology, and specifically powerful companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple, are disrupting and destabilising our societies and making us less free. Data-mining and Facebook (not to mention a rogue cipherpunk and a handful of tech billionaires) was behind the recent authoritarian successes in the world including Brexit and Trump.

Despite this, and though I am more ambivalent about the possibilities of technology than I am about many of my other enthusiasms, when it comes to technologies that permit us to express ourselves as powerfully as html, Unix and [GNU-] Linux, and languages such as bash, python, and even Scratch, I am at least periodically optimistic.

The internet has been lost in the last generation. Nevertheless, though we need to see a lot of citizen education, and though we need to undo the work of all those schools which use Google as a verb more or less synonymous with research, the internet remains as powerful as the printing press.

Most people do not know about technology and use it every day. Most people who do not know about technology are used by it, they do not make use of it. One day, I may write a book about this (I have notes under the working title The Pwned Mind, a reference to The Captive Mind. In the meantime, I suppose I will note all of the people who have lost their minds to the technology they use every day and resolve not to fall in with them.

As far as is possible, I will use free and open source software for this and other aspects of my work. This website and others I work on will look lo-fi and retro for a number of reasons, some of them relating to time and resources, some to aesthetic choices, and some to philosophical and political choices which may be explored in Marginálie