An infrequently updated dumping ground for one culture junkie's thoughts on film and whatever else

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Prescience

This isn't film-related, but today I started reading Richard Powers' 1995 novel Galatea 2.2 and found within its first ten pages a strikingly prescient passage about the internet, or as his narrator calls it, "the world web." After several paragraphs waxing on about the web's unprecedented wonders, the narrator explains why the bloom starts to come off the rose:

"But the longer I lurked, the sadder the holiday became. People who used the web turned strange. In public panels, they disguised their sexes, their ages, their names. They logged on to the electronic fray, adopting every violent persona but their own. They whizzed binary files at each other from across the planet, the same planet where impoverished villages looked upon a ball-point pen with wonder. The web began to seem a vast, silent stock exchange trading in ever more anonymous and hostile pen pals.

"The web was a neighborhood more efficiently lonely than the one it replaced. Its solitude was bigger and faster. When relentless intelligence finally completed its program, when the terminal drop box brought the last barefoot, abused child on line and everyone could at last say anything instantly to everyone else in existence, it seemed to me we'd still have nothing to say to each other and many more ways not to say it."

And that was fifteen years ago!!

1 comment:

  1. See for example my recent reflections on how well Solomon Grundy and the Incredible Hulk would get along.

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