I was enjoying The Big Switch just fine. It is an interesting, well researched (if only a bit speculative) book about how cloud computing is the future, and how software will change our lives, etc, etc. But then, around page 191, good ol’ Nick goes to the “corporations are here to control us” storyline. Boom, There Goes the Neighborhood!
Why oh why can’t we have books about technology without this kind of sociology crappola?
There must be something wrong with me.
I try to keep an open mind. I try to stop and think that maybe, just maybe, I am controlled by these magical marketing forces and that I only buy the things I do because I was charmed by some nice looking woman who appeared in a commercial and sent this subliminal message to my lizard brain.
But I just don’t buy this. Of course, I understand that we are limited/guided by our social surroundings and I can totally see how that plays a role. But really… Is Google any close to controlling my mind?
I honestly cannot think one time, not even once, when I clicked on an ad displayed by Google. It is always quite the opposite. I always go to Google with something in mind (for instance, trying to decide if I should read a book like The Big Switch) and then many, many times I decide to buy something that is not necessarily what Google recommended me to. So either Google is really good at playing devil’s advocate or what is happening is that *I* am making the decisions here, no matter what the search engine (and its sponsors) wants me to do.
If Corporations were such powerful mind control entities, would we even be talking about these things anyway? Couldn’t Nick and all the good boys counter attack their malevolent intentions?
That reminds me that every time I come across these doomsayers I always try to imagine how they see themselves. Do they think they are some sort of freakish exception that can somehow “see the real” in this world of deception?
It is a bit funny to see Google’s transformation from good guy to bad guy. I kind of saw this with Microsoft, but now it is so much clearer and obvious.
We always think that conspiracy theories are something that only affects a small fringe of society, but I think that is wrong. Most people seem to like conspiracy theories in one shape or another. I think it works as an escape valve, almost like a ‘do it yourself’ movie or game they can play all the time. It not only helps to deal with life’s frustrations and fears, but it makes life fun and exciting for them. A sociological anti-depressant if you will.
Once again, I am destined to be a square.