Possibly Asked Questions

2008-10-06 10:46

What "New World Order" is this? And why do I have to take notes?

I suppose I should explain myself, or at least my nomenclature — it's not entirely clear what I mean.

From the beginning this website was a phoenix, rising from the proverbial ashes (of a hard disk failure). A site reborn, with new found purpose. (Or lack of purpose.)

I set out to create a website like used to be the norm. Well written (alright, who am I kidding — written with capitalization and spelling), eclectic, but above all, interesting. I set out to create something that was more artifice than diary, more journalistic than blogging.

I have so far failed, by my own admission (as well as anyone else who's nice enough to tell me the truth), to keep the promise to which the name would hold me. it's a grandiose promise of ideal rhetoric and deep thought, with not a little cynicism and practicality thrown in. ("Would you like fries with your universe?" is not exactly the next great rallying cry.)

So, what is this "New World Order" I'm alluding to? The one my vision of which I wish to share, that holds such promise and hope?

I don't know what it looks like, or who to get there, but the feel of it is what I long for so deeply.

Ever since I read William Gibson's Neuromancer I've had a longing for a world with that kind of freedom. While Gibson's work is often seen as a critique of contemporary issues, it has sparked something deep within many to bring parts of his vision into reality. (Namely among technologists to bring the technology he portrays from speculative fiction into hard science.)

What I long for is not the dystopic social structure, the rule of corporations, or even the widespread use of cybernetics and the mutability of our human existence. Instead I long for a time when technology is really just a part of the human experience, considered part of our humanity rather than separate and opposite.

This really is the romantic in me (in the rather outmoded sense of the word) trying to reconcile the aesthetic and emotional impact and power of technology with humanity. As a technologist (of a sort), I cannot help but see the discontinuities between human and machine. In fact, it is often my task to break down those discontinuities, to smooth over technology so it is ready for "the masses."

I see the same problems and misunderstandings all the time, the same discontinuities between humanity and machine. Between the human experience we know so well and the machine experience we are only beginning to understand. And I cannot help but to think there must be a better way. that the fluid relationship shown in William Gibson's work can exist — perhaps even must emerge from the progression of technology — I want it, but we do not know if it is fantasy or future yet.

I want to find that relationship, that fluidity with on of humanity's few unique gifts — the objects of our creation. We need to bring our creative power back to ourselves, to reincorporate that which has for so long been associated only with unfeeling, callous, cold, industrial dominance, and corporate greed.

Computers and computing have opened the eyes of many to what might be possible, given them a glimpse of the freedom and power that lies at the heart of the ability to bend the world, the very laws of nature to out will. But it is only the beginning.

Without diving past the unfathomable Singularity, I don't know what will happen, whether we can build th world I long for so desperately. I do know that I do not fear the Singularity, nor the reckless advance of technology. We must be wary of the existential risks such power holds, but even so it seems humanity's only hope for a truly New World Order — not an utopia, but a substantively different world — lies in the hands of technologists.

We must not only be the change we wish to see in the world, we must build the world to our vision of how it ought to be. This is not a single task, but a lifestyle, a purpose for being — the resurgence of the DIY ethic speaks to the hunger to shape our world.

We must make our New World Order, it will not come by revolution.

Wait... what?

The name of the site notwithstanding, this is a place for me to put interesting things. The nominal plan was to have articles and essays, along with maybe a bit of fiction, and some technical crunch because I am a technologist.

My idea was that the site become a sort of idea repository, not necessarily a complete picture, just fragments in which you might glimpse the whole (like a hologram).

Well, what happened?

Not much. I'm busy, it happens. I haven't felt motivated to write in a long time. I've got lots of projects that don't really go anywhere, left half-unfinished as a reminder that I'm not nearly as awesome as I'd like to be.

I'll get back to some of it, eventually. Until then, there's not much to see here. — There is something though, and as I find time and interest I'll write it up and let it out into the wild internets.