Well, he didn’t come to my house specifically, but author/activist/Boing Boing blogger Cory Doctorow did present a lecture for SFU’s Leonardo Institute last week. I was fortunate enough to catch Friday’s presentation of
The Totalitarian Urge: total information awareness and the cosmic billiards. “It’s about how technology changes the way we view social problems,” says Doctorow. “Older mechanical technologies make us see the world as deterministic, knowable and manipulable. New emergent technologies like the Internet teach us that control is an illusion, the universe is out of control and laughing at us, and that the more we watch and control, the more problems we have.”
Despite it being advertised as an academic lecture, Doctorow came off as exceedingly approachable and on-topic. With such an ability to speak so directly, I’m not at all surprised that he has yet to earn a degree from any of the four universities at which he studied. More than simply a reporter from the field, Doctorow was harbinger–bearing both a warning and a call-to-arms. While it’s not necessarily news to anyone that technology stands to destroy us just as easily as it might liberate us, it was very penetrating to have this truism demonstrated in a March, 2007 AD context.
It only seems fair to return the favour of a free talk with some links to further empower you, the mighty citizen. Each of the following are placed with thanks to Doctorow. Feel free to add more in comments below.
- Reasonable Agreement: because EULA’s are hell of lame
- Digital Copyright Canada: read, print off and then possibly sign and mail these petitions to parliament
- Electronic Frontier Foundation: free speech in the digital age
- FreeCulture.org: an international student movement for free culture
- Tor: anonymity online