Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Final Post

If 1984 was re-written to be 2084 I strongly suspect that 'Big Brother is watching you' would be changed to 'Big Business is watching you' or perhaps just 'We are watching you.' After reading Andrejevic it is hard not to imagine a future where the big information and technology businesses, secure in the fortified Googleplex HQ will monitor the generation of an entire world worth of information in real time, all the while supplying the government with information it might require. How could real freedom exist in such a system?

This is a bleak outlook, and not the only possible future, but it is disconcerting how far we have already gone down this road without even noticing. How much farther will we get before enough people notice that change is possible? The college I work for just switched over to Google Apps to handle all our e-mail and communication needs on campus - all students, faculty, staff and administration are now on Gmail all day every day. I wonder if the people in the upper echelon even stopped to consider the possible implications of it - more likely they are unaware of them all together.

Sorry for the burst of dystopia, a lot of what we discuss brings it out in me. There is always a chance that it will all work out. That Google and others will use their powers for good and not evil, right?

Is the fact that this is the second time I have referenced 1984 in these discussions indicative of something?

I very much enjoyed my time in this class. I will admit that I felt a little out of my depth at times, but overall I think that I was given a great deal to think about and the things I have read and discussed here will influence the rest of my time in grad school and, hopefully, my career. I think that overall, the modules I appreciated the most, the ones that I think I got the most out of in practical terms, were 3 and 4 dealing with copyright laws. I learned a lot about a subject that I had been previously ignorant of and that is very relevant to my future goals. If I had to pick a favorite discussion though, including my personal favorite post, it would be the WikiLeaks module. It was a perfect and timely way to examine so much of what we had discussed and learned about in class and it brought up a lot of complex feelings and ideas. Much like this course as a whole.

Thanks for a great semester everyone and happy holidays.

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