Bruce Sterling's uproariously funny story "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Google" has just been published in the New Scientists -- it's a short short story about the life of a teenager when today's tools of ubiquitous computer control and surveillance are perfected. Like all great science fiction, this doesn't so much predict the future as it predicts the present:
I tried hard to buy us another spray can. I'm a street poet, so really, I tried. I walked up to the mall-store register, disguised in my Dad's business jacket, with cash in hand. They're cheap, aerosol spray cans. Beautiful colours of paint, just screaming to get sprayed someplace public where everybody has to see what's on our minds. The store wouldn't sell me the can. The e-commerce system simply would not allow that transaction. The screen just went gray and stayed gray.
That creepy "differential permissioning" sure saves a lot of trouble for grown-ups. Increasing chunks of the world are just... magically off limits. It's a weird new regime where every mall and every school and every bus and train and jet is tagged and tracked and ambient and pervasive and ubiquitous and geolocative... Jesus, I love those words... Where was I?
Thursday, September 21, 2006
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Google
Posted by David Booker at 10:37 AM