A company offers a tradeoff: it captures employees’ productivity, to create a lens focusing many hands on big problems. Post-internet, I see a new downside to this: the company is also capturing its employees’ free expression. I suspect many professional voices — people talking frankly about the work they do — are going unheard. The voices I mostly hear on YouTube and podcasts are the same sort of media personalities that I’ve always heard from.
I now find myself taking my son to birthday parties where all the kids are dressed as tiny, ultra-violent technicolor fascists. Disney has succeeded in making American superheroes an expected part of small children’s lives all over the world. I hate that American superheroes are so boringly unrealistic. No human on the planet, if suddenly granted magical powers, would become Spiderman. There’s no part of Batman’s journey from billionaire to leaping-around-the-streets-at-night-hitting-people that makes sense.
In Spielberg’s Ready Player One, humanity has built the matrix and uses it exclusively for playing VR remakes of 40 year old video games. In True Names and Neuromancer cyberspace was an anarchists' playground. A base to fight back from against despotic governments and corporations. In Snow Crash, cyberspace was a maker’s paradise – a hackerspace to rule them all. Ready Player One is a fun movie with a failure of imagination.
‘That was our old religion, Master Harker,’ Cole said, nodding towards it. ‘It was nothing like so good as the new, of course, but it was good fun in its day though, because it ended in a feast.’ ‘You didn’t eat horses,’ Kay said, ‘did you?’ ‘Ah, didn’t we,’ Cole said.John Masefield, The Box of Delights I’ve just been reading John Masefield’s The Box of Delights with my son.