The Wood Between the Worlds
One of the questions outfits like Pajamas Media are trying to answer in action is what the future of information gathering will look like in a few year's time. Brian Micklethwait at Samizdata provides an interesting glimpse into where things might be headed by focusing on a small news event he stumbled on. An activist belonging to Fathers4Justice, which advocates more custody rights for dads, had scaled Parliament house in London when Micklethwait was walking by. (See Samizdata for the photos) The protester was talking to ... his lawyer? ... a radio interviewer? ... someone at least, on his cell phone. Regular journalists were positioned down below taking continuous footage of the protester, while hard by, a literal crowd of regular citizens had whipped out their digital cameras (with an optical 10x zoon and autostabilized in the case of Samidata's Micklethwait) and were covering the protester and the press coverage itself. The protester might have been on radio talk-show, while being snapped by photojournalists, who were in turn memorialized by citizens, one at least of whom was a blogger. The issue that interests Micklethwait is what happens in a communications-dense environment where everyone is potentially wired to everyone else, where everyone is a node on a graph. He has come to one conclusion: at the very least a wired society makes it harder for government to simply make things go away.
One of the features of modern government, or maybe that should be recent government, is that modern/recent government often likes simply to blot stories off the airwaves. I am not saying that they wanted to squash this one. But I am saying that if they had entertained any such censorious thoughts, although they might have got away with this ten years ago, now, they would have far less chance.
Other questions come to mind. If Moms4Justice had scaled Nelson's plinth and Kids4Justice had swarmed Buckingham palace at the same time, how would meme collision get arbitrated on the nervous system of a digitally wired society? Is there any way of assigning headers to memes such that they get where they should? Is there any way for memes to rearrange themselves in a logical order upon arrival at a destination to form an even more complex idea? What is to prevent the whole digital nervous sytem from suffering a breakdown from an overload? And encapsulating all these questions implicitly is the most important question of all: how does one make a buck out of it?
Maybe no one knows, but folks sure are interested in getting control even though they don't know where it will all lead. U.S. to U.N.: Keep Away from Internet:
The U.S. has made it clear that it will fight any attempt to put the United Nations or another international body in charge of the Internet. ... Several nations with tightly controlled media, such as China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, plus a number of industrialized countries including Switzerland and Russia, would like to see the U.S. relinquish its control of the Internet.
BTW, who does control the Internet?