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Bruce Sterling on wikileaks - The Ex-Communicator

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December 23rd, 2010


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09:04 am - Bruce Sterling on wikileaks
Here is a good article on the wikileaks crisis by Bruce Sterling. As a good SF novelist should, he manages to integrate the implications of technology with a good understanding of character.
(Assange)’s a bright, good-looking man who — let’s face it — can’t get next to women without provoking clumsy havoc and a bitter and lasting resentment. That’s half the human race that’s beyond his comprehension there.

The fitness to survive of the new movement will depend on how quickly women and those who are not hard-core hackers can feel integrated into it. Will non-national flat networking be a phase that a few people pass through - for a few years outside society - or something that you can live within permanently? I mean you personally, because if you can't live within the non-hierarchical movement, then not many people can. And if push comes to shove, your loyalty will probably be with the system you can live inside.

My feeling - my guess - is that it will mature, might mature eventually, into a system which does work, which can sustain itself, that you can if you like 'live inside'.

Sterling:
I don’t even think Assange is all that big on ego... He’s just what he is; he’s something we don't yet have words for.

Something we don't have words for yet. Agreed. This is what SF and poetry are for, to make words for concepts. The invention of printing led to things happening that were not predictable. And now this.
The US State Department ... clearly shouldn’t have been messing with computers. In setting up their SIPRnet, they were trying to grab the advantages of rapid, silo-free, networked communication while preserving the hierarchical proprieties of official confidentiality.

Yes, you can't have the advantages of the new technology, and keep everything else still. I think 90% of my old job was trying to manage (one tiny aspect of) that crack, and if you stop managing it, it's going to yawn into a chasm. People think they are in charge, or sidekicks of the people who are in charge, but really we are riding history not directing it.

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