Thursday, August 14, 2008

New, Illegal, or Pointless

This is a pointless futurist post/rant...

I keep getting hung up on the fact that, every day, I break laws. I can't really ignore the fact that nearly all Americans between 14 and 34, especially the smart ones, are felons and commit, on average, more than one crime a day.

This is not because we're immoral, it's because we've been shaped by a technology the old farts don't understand. Hell, even we don't understand where it's going, and we grew up with it. All we know is that it's not going where they think it's going. Or where they want it to go. It's gutted the old ways. They just haven't quite fallen over dead, yet.

I'm not advocating anarchy. I'm advocating something new. The old idea of anarchy is just as obsolete as the old ideas I'd like to replace. We need something new.

The idea of copyright. Love the intent (well, the stated intent), but it doesn't work any more and gets more confused every year. Need something new, now.

The idea of possession. What's ours? Is our computer ours? Then how come MS and other companies with internet-capable software are allowed to communicate to and from it without explicit permission? How come it can be seized - without warrant, without reason - and held indefinitely "for analysis"? Are our avatars ours? Our virtual gold? Our website, even though it's hosted elsewhere? Our computation cycles? The very idea of what "ours" means has to change, but I have no idea how. We need something new.

And what's up with this idea of a "EULA"? A screwed up attempt to cram old laws into a new situation. Need something new...

Data on the internet. Eternal records of who we were? I keep wanting to go back and delete the first three years of this blog. I still get comments on that shit, and I just want to officially say, "Hey, the guy who made that post DOESN'T EXIST ANYMORE. You can, if you like, talk to ME instead." Need some way to deal with that...

It's easier to talk to ten thousand strangers on YouTube than call your mom, and definitely easier to post random blog entries than spend time with people. Need something to deal with that...

It's easier to learn by doing, by interacting, and now we can do that. Sitting in a giant auditorium, loading up on crippling debt to listen to someone teaching outdated knowledge in an outdated fashion? Yeah, we need something new...

Hell, even our nationality. I feel more kinship with a Star Trek geek from Kenya than with most of the people in Boston. If I were given the option, I would not contribute to most of my government's wastes... and I don't really see any reason other than inertia why a government can't be revamped to take advantage of instant, open communications. I don't really see any reasons, other than inertia, that we can't have "second-order" governments that're independent of place and instead focuses on goals and values that actually matter. Government 2.0.

Government 1.0 is just for providing physical protection (police, fire dept, and environmental protection), roads, and baseline medical care. Since it's tied to land and population, those should be the only thing it taxes... let's chop everything else off and make it government 2.0. And let me NOT SIGN UP.

"How naive!" Well, where else are we heading? In twenty years, I'll be able to develop my own breed of tomato that lives on the walls of my house and is plaid. I won't be able to sell them, though. Selling them would either be illegal or totally pointless.

In twenty years, the now-cool idea of "paper displays" will be obsolete because we'll have replaced them with virtual displays that don't even actually exist, and are imaged into space by a projector, probably one pointed at our eye. They'll probably have to be made on home fabricators, though, because someone will own patents on the basic technology and refuse to let anyone except Shitty Megacorp Incorporated the rights. IE, they'll be illegal, and the legal ones will be totally pointless.

In twenty years, we'll cringe at the fact that it's taken us this long to put up a moon base... but, hey, at least we'll have one.

And, I'm sure, it'll be illegal. Because the alternative is that it would be totally pointless.

They're whining about music sharing? About people remixing commercials and adding silly voiceovers to newscasters? In twenty years, the kinds of crimes we commit every day will perplex today's people. It'll probably be illegal to grow your own garden without a farming permit, or something similar.

And it'll be just as pointless to make these things illegal. You can't enforce these laws, and breaking them is as immoral as jaywalking.

Hah! Hopefully, stupid laws will become illegal. But, chances are, they'll just stay pointless.


Olick said...

There's a lot here, potentially. About intellectual property, even if you only talk about copyrights explicitly, you touch on what may be patents (plant..genes?). However..

You're really that embarrassed about your old posts? Or is it just about people realizing that you're interested in the current?

Web integrity sorta dictates that you keep it around. This is generally because if you have controversy, or post something horrible, you don't delete it and pretend it never happened.
I haven't read all the archives, and I doubt you have anything that is controversial to that degree.

Besides, I'm sure there are plenty of worse first 3 years of examples out there. I mean I read webcomics.

Craig Perko said...

I'm not particularly embarrassed by my old posts, they're just more primitive than I like. These posts will be too primitive in a few years, too.

People "call me out" on details that have completely changed, for example, or tell me I should think about it a certain way... when I already moved to think that way years ago, and moved on from there.

It's just... bad. Plus, even if I posted something horrible, you should be allowed to grow out of stuff.

Patrick said...

Good post, I've been thinking similar things, from a different angle.

Mory said...

I'm with you all the way, except with the tomatoes. I don't understand what that's all about.

Craig Perko said...

It's getting exponentially easier to fiddle with DNA. I think it'll probably go the same route as computers: this big, centralized "mainframe-style" manipulation will be made obsolete by home versions!