Monday, May 29, 2006

Feed

I'm already in a book club. So I was hesitant to join another one, but these women are so persistent, so I finally got around to reading the book. It's a YA, and it's short, so I figured this would be the one to try it out with. (Small investment, you know?) I'm a bit miffed at how the whole book club thing worked out, because I came back from Maine partially so I could go to this meeting, which ended up "rescheduled", which I didn't find out until about two hours after I attempted to attend, which is partly my fault because I forgot my phone at home and didn't check my messages until then. However, even if I had my phone with me, I wouldn't have known about the rescheduling until I was in Harvard, MA, and if I had known before the weekend that the thing wasn't going to happen, I might have stayed in Maine another day.

Still, I read the book. It's a Brave New World-type "technology is going to ruin humanity" kind of warning book. It imagines a world in the not-too-distant future (the main characters are supposed to be the teenage children of my generation) in which everyone has a feed, an implant in the brain that displaces the need for a computer. You can Google things using the feed, chat using the feed, and of course buy products using the feed, and so you also get constantly bombarded with advertising, and you can't turn it off. The result is a generation completely controlled by corporations, who buy whatever the ads tell them is hot, and who have no need to learn anything, because they can just look it up on the feed (yeah, because that's what school is for). As if that weren't bad enough, the feed can malfunction and kill you, if you don't get the best quality product.

It was ok. The language was annoying, but it got the message across (like an anvil). I really hope today's teenagers don't need to read this book to know not to get a feed.

Why this won't happen: The original parts are always the best.

Anecdote: When I was growing up, my dad had a 1969 VW bus, and often people would ask him about it. Once while I was there, someone asked how it was running, and my dad's response was that the only problems he ever had was when he tried to replace a part with one that wasn't designed for this model vehicle. The original parts work the best.

The same is true for the human body. You can get a pacemaker or a knee replacement, but only if the original part was irreparably damaged. Likewise, you don't do a medical procedure for fun. Anyone who's used a computer knows that there's always bugs to be fixed. And anyone who's conscious knows that the brain is more complicated than we can begin to understand, so don't mess with it!

There's nothing wrong with carrying around a Blackberry or iMac. It works just as well (albeit more inconvenient than just thinking), and it won't up and kill you.

I was thinking for a while (but decided against it) that the feed killed Violet on purpose.

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