Is Google Evil? Little Brother Is Watching
Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.
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In a 2010 Wall Street Journal interview, Google CEO Eric Schmidt got downright creepy as he discussed the customer information Google collects. The Stasi, East Germany’s once seemingly omnipotent and omniscient secret police, has nothing on the company whose corporate motto is supposedly “Don’t be evil.” Schmidt says his company knows “who you are, roughly what you care about . . . and, to a foot, where you are.” And not only does he think Google has a right to know where you are and what you are doing at all times, he implies that it should have a say in what you do next. “I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. . . . They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”
"The contest between Orwell and Huxley for best prognosticator of a dystopic future is not yet settled, but in a way their visions no longer seem that radically different. We have mind control of a sort and we have conformity, the latter to some degree enabling the former. We have both, ironically enough, at a time when the “me generation” myth tells us that the average person qua “consumer” is freer and choice-richer than ever.
Perhaps the voice to heed, then, is neither Orwell nor Huxley, but Edmund Burke. Burke wrote that:
'men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites. . . . Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon the will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.'
As our appetites are induced, teased forth, filtered and shaped in ways few ordinary citizens understand, can the fetters be far behind?
The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.
Oh, that's good.
Frankly, I don't think it makes any sense. "Free" in political discourse usually means "have a basic set of rights." "Free" in this sense seems to mean something like stoicism or like the hermit who lives in the woods and provides his own food, shelter, etc. so that he "will be free." Perhaps the two senses of "free" are not at all related?