josh zeidner on Thu, 12 Jul 2001 12:39:04 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Have We Not Learned Anything From the 90s? OR, "abort, retry, fail; the end of the cyber ethic"

 hello all,

   It surprises me to see so many still cleaving to
the idea that the internet will somehow democratize
society and lead us to some kind of mythic utopia in
the near future.  It seems to me that this experiment
has been carried out to its fullest extent in the past
10+ years, resulting in a resounding "NO DICE"( to use
the endemic NY expression ).
   I find it dissapointing to the point of absurdity
that people are still getting jazzed about things such
as faster bandwidth( why should i spend thousands of
dollars so I can watch TV on my computer?! ).  As if I
wanted to spend 30$/month for a high speed connection
so I can recieve 20X the number of ad banners I
normally recieve( or i could revel in pornographic
gluttony ).  Does anyone out there besides me find
themselves spend frustrating hours in front of the net
desperately searching for something interesting?
   The idealism of the net has completely
disintegrated in the wake of its commercialization. 
Now, the internet is no more interesting than TV,
actually it differentiates itself by actually being
MORE annoying than TV.  And any attempts to make it
interesting inevitably fail in much the same way as
our Public Access TV does( dont get me wrong I like
The Thing, as much as I like PBS, much respect to WS
and RM ).  This dream, that we can craft a tool for
communication that cannot be corrupted, was the naive
and futile dream of the young generation who had
literally nothing to hope for.
   Now we are in a phase that is involving the
re-phrasing of the original ideas, with the hopes that
they may take hold THIS time.  Terms like
"Peer-To-Peer" leave me thinking: wasnt that the idea
in the first place?  Exactly how is that different
from what we have been trying for all along?
   Virtual reality was another great one( which is
inevitably complementary to increasing bandwidth ). 
This idea that we can immerse ourselves in
informational worlds of our own creation, and tickle
each others nerve endings without concern for
geographical boundaries.  What is wrong with this?  To
mistake the images of our own dreams for reality is
the most fatal kind of narcissism that we can effect. 
Praying to the idol of Virtual Reality will only lead
to a complete mental poverty.  Virtual Reality is
nothing more than a system to shield us from REALITY,
the reality where people live and die and sometimes
effect these events through thier own actions.
   I think it is important that we( everyone, the
world, ect ) move on.  There is no technology that we
can create that will make a better world for us( some
still think otherwise, and are decending into a highly
technical and complex theoretical territory ).  This
doesnt mean that technology is bad.  and "the internet
is not going away".  What we should know however, is
that technology should be subordinate to humankind,
and the technologies alone should never dictate our
lifestyles or governments.  I imagine that this would(
or could ) be part of our accepted ideals in the 21st

   well ive had my say...

   josh zeidner

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