Web 2.0 aka Big Brother aka HAL aka the Matrix aka Terminator10: Currently living in San FranciscoSomebody should tell Nicholas Carr to take it easy. The champion contrarian, call him the Howard Beal of the web 2.0 era, loves to give heartburn to the web 2.0 sales people pushing snakoil, most of whom can be found on Techmeme/Techcrunch on a daily basis.
Carr has a book to sell (The Big Switch), so many will accuse him of fear-mongering when he gives out interviews prophesizing the rise of the machines who will slowly take control of our information. Nick Carr also wrote the book Bill Gates hated the most, 'The End of IT', where he predicted the downfall of humongous IT departments at big businesses, as computing slowly but surely becomes a commodity. Now, he has turned his attention towards a scenario where net access is a commodity.
Carr says that connected computers may liberate us but they are also ‘technologies of control’.
Web2.0 is about the data we put online: Blogs, wikis, social networking profiles and activities, comments, pictures, videos, audio, search history, ratings, resumes, important documents on free hosted services…
Most of the big web 2.0 services are headquartered in San Francisco. The smart scientists who are working for Google, developing the cloud, live in a city that also happens to be the home of the Zodiac Killer. In future, they will write about how the machines rose in 'Frisco.
According to Nick's apocalyptic vision, the Net will be our hard drive and people other than us will have control over all our data, rants included. Let us see how.
Using Web 2.0 tools, we frequently shout at authority through our blogs. We tell our bosses to go to hell via a blog comment, our Prime Minister to have a spine through a Youtube mashup, diss our colleague with a podcast and have 5000 friends on Facebook without having any friends in real life.
While we are doing all this, the machine is watching us 24 * 7.
It is watching us so that in future, it may out-think us.
And all this time, I was all gung-ho, having just read that erstwhile web 2.0 blowhard real estate mogul Sam Zell was getting into blogging.
Are web 2.0 users creating a Matrix, which in future will consider them as ‘mere nodes’ ?
The Facebook User #1234567980, aka pramitsingh2275, who can’t do what he pleases with his data and service he helped build.
Our apocalyptic web 2.0 led future is closely linked to the fates of Facebook Beacon, the Walled Garden mentality of social networks and Google’s continuing dominance in the Search business.
If these three go down, our chances of survival go up.
In his new book, "Love and Sex With Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships," Artificial intelligence expert David Levy says that in future we will have sex with human like sexbots, geeks are already salivating at prospect of having their own Number Sixes.
That was the happy part of our future. The unhappy part:
What do we do with web 2.0 before it morphs into an all-controlling machine?
The premise of “The Ring” movies was that movies can kill you – the images may get out from the screen and do things to you. A new movie “Untraceable” suggests that the Internet may kill you – a murder is being livestreamed and an increase in internet traffic speeds up the death of the victim.
We have had thrillers based on our usage of the telephone and mobile before.
At least, telephones and mobiles do not capture our talks and SMSes, that too by default.
What are the harms of having our data up in the cloud?
The web 2.0 machine gave us the choice of having two-way conversations, much to the chagrin of newspaper owners and media bosses. But, there are the downsides.
There have been downsides with any piece of technology before, which have now been amplified in this age of War on Terror (which is not even a noun, as Jon Stewart reminded us).
But the Data Cloud is not as tangible (and easily targeted, through or collective power) as governments of the world.
Carr says ‘We're transferring our intelligence into the machine, and the machine is transferring its way of thinking into us.’
This massively paralleled machine is mining and analyzing our data while we upload the latest pics from the holiday. Soon after, we become downloadable entities.
We become part of a data matrix ruled by the holy trinity of M/s Brin, Page and Zuckerberg.
Hell, I am sounding like a Nick Carr Fan Boy.