I was DISTINCTLY TOLD, in the 1990s, that if we put computers into all the things it would make us all super-smart and super-sexy and super-kind and we would all live in houses made of translucent plastic and acid dance and rainforests and we would specifically NOT become a society of giant raging dumbass jerks selling fake nutritional supplements to Nazis.

There were RECEIPTS. Money changed HANDS.

I wish to complain to the MANAGEMENT.

@natecull My mentor in graduate school once wrote a book that expounded the former.

He now writes books mostly about how money and technology have formed an unholy marriage that is ruining the whole world. He's the most gentle and kind and wonderful human, and the most heartbroken person I know, because not only did he believe, he was one of the *prophets*.

@TheGibson @natecull Yeah, but not all of us published books and built our public reputation and our writing and teaching careers on it. I was a proselytizer, but he was John the bloody Baptist.

@natecull @TheGibson Maybe? Probably, if you remember the 90s the way I do. 💖

His name is Douglas Rushkoff.

@TheGibson @natecull Yup! If you ever pick up Life, Inc., you'll see me in the acknowledgments, because I was one of his research assistants at the time.

...which is why I am now an anarcho-communist, because the thing he had me study was the history of money, LOL.

Also, the physical representation of the girl (whose name I can't remember right now) in Adolescent Demo Division is based on me!

@SuzanEraslan @thegibson @natecull This is awesome!

Where'd the history-of-money research end up, and/or take you?

When was this, and when do you see Rushkoff as having turned on tech?

@dredmorbius @TheGibson @natecull Well, it ended up in the book Life, Inc., though I think it’s threaded throughout a lot of his work that came after. For me, it became the basis for a hugely radical shift in my perception of politics— money is like god to us, and when the curtain is stripped away and you realize there’s no there there, it kind of blows your mind that you and everyone else is in pursuit of something that’s a fantasy.

@dredmorbius @TheGibson @natecull As for Rushkoff turning on tech, he never did and never has. He turned on the tech *industry*, or rather, I would say, became aware that the tech industry had colonized Cyberia in the way all colonizers do— exploited its natives and resources for personal gain without thought to how that would destroy the very things they were exploiting.


@dredmorbius @TheGibson @natecull Oh, but as for when that happened... 2005 is when we started working together on Life, Inc., but I think it started before that. Maybe 2003ish? He was teaching at ITP and had watched it go from a school that promoted weird stuff made with tech to a school looking for their next alumnus to sell their thesis project to Google.

@SuzanEraslan @thegibson @natecull My view was that things changed during the first Web boom -- Netscape IPO through the 2001 crash.

Then Web 2.0 and Mobile/Social, 2007-, mostly.

@dredmorbius @TheGibson @natecull Anyway, I’m obviously speaking from an outside perspective and don’t know what was in his head, but I do know he was a much less optimistic but no less hopeful man when we met.

I also RAed for Clay Shirky at the time, when he was working on Here Comes Everybody, and it was like being student to The Vinegar Tasters. (Clay didn’t put me in the acknowledgments, though... 😒)

@SuzanEraslan @thegibson @natecull I've also been digging into the early tech critics. Shoshana Zuboff in the early 80s. Paul Baran (RAND) in the 1960s.

RAND just released his remaining nondigitised works, for free, last month, at my request.

@dredmorbius @SuzanEraslan @natecull

I have found that on occassion you catch more ants using honey.

@SuzanEraslan @thegibson @natecull Oh. And Norbert Fucking Wiener.

A god.

I'd always thought cybernetics was about machine and process controls, but he very much intended it to apply to /all/ systems, including animal and human behaviour, psychology, sociology, economics.

And warned explicitly of the dangers.

He was sidelined due to his post-WWII conscientious objection to military work, and corporate criticism, in part being caught up in the Red Scare and McCarthyism.

A massive shame.

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