Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Computer power

There are 2 aspects of computer power that we urgently and desperately need to come to terms with:

1. Their productivity

Just take a single example: manufacturing. Plants are run today with their lights-out, because computers are doing all the work. The gains in productivity are monumentally enormous. Where have all the gains gone?

Every person on Earth could easily have the basics of life covered with the productivity gains made just in manufacturing. Where did it all go?

2. Their ability to control

This is what computers do, they control things. Related to this ability to control is a far more insidious angle: they remember everything, and they are lightning fast.

By simply collecting *all* of our communications in a mountain somewhere, and then designating who has access to this information (and who does not), 2 classes of people are created: one that has the power (access) and one that does not.

This may seem unimportant today, but it is the core of real power that can - and if we don't or can't stop it - will be used against our children and their children for a very, very long time to come.

Why is this so powerful? Because we're human and we all make mistakes or at least do things that can easily be manipulated into spinning us (that is, those among us with the courage to challenge those with the power) into idiots at best and criminals at worst. You've no doubt heard the refrain "knowledge is power", well here it is for all it's ugliness.


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