When even the NYT notices, it's obvious

From the New York Times:

The Internet is no longer just an essential channel for commerce, entertainment and information. It has also become a stage for state control — and rebellion against it. Computers are becoming more crucial in global conflicts, not only in spying and military action, but also in determining what information reaches people around the globe.

The article notes that a number of repressed groups, including Women in Iran, the Falun Gong in China and so forth, are making hacks available to evade internet filtering. About time, too...

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Computers are becoming more and more vital to our existence. I realized that when my laptop recently died - everything depended on it. And it would not surprise me, if the bond between us and silicon becomes even more intimate in the relatively near future. It may even become quite practical for us to wear implants someday. Some would say that computers provides a hook for the power-hungry to control us - and they certainly do, but even that may be short-sighted.

In a way, we are like enzymes catalyzing the formation of something we really don't understand yet. And enzymes must first bond with whatever they are assembling. In a scenario like this, the distinction between tool and tool-user begins to blur. Obviously, we use computers as tools every day. But computers also use us. They employ many of us in large factories (organelles?) to to build their children, and vast support systems for their children.

Certainly we've catalyzed the formation of many other things before - houses, cars, spaceships, etc. But the danger here is that in order for something to do more for you, you have to give it more power (this is actually one theme of Lord of the Rings, believe it or not). We are giving the computer great power of control, and that control will only increase with time.

Around the turn of the century, Bill Joy wrote an article touching on some of these things, called "Why the future doesn't need us". Is it all just futurist nonsense? Perhaps.