“The Libertarian fantasy of private companies usurping governments, is, I’m afraid, becoming a reality.“
Missed this back during it’s primary publication. Was reminded recently, & felt it necessary to undergo, all-assailant & increasingly penetrative tech nightmare fuck-up that currently befouls.
This book ruffled a lot of Rolls-Royces when it was published, as you can imagine.
It is not at all against the internet per se, but rather the antithetical commercial tailings pond of tox & shit that it has become & it’s alarmingly interventionist & manipulating ramifications that are conducing downward whirlpool of artistic, social & human degeneration.
Keen has really done his research, tracking the founding personnel, early prototypes & the pantheon of projects from which the internet would eventually emerged.
The initial idealism of the original internet was something I remember well, a condition & environment Keen is also very enthusiastic to describe by extremely fond & positive means.
But the decay & takeover by extractive, exploitative, commercial & corporate “bad elements” & the lure of lucre was ready to play out it’s well rehearsed contamination & subversion scenario on this new, predominantly idealist field of communication & creativity.
Hijacked, hamstrung & hogtied – commercial warfare & other control & sentience deadening offensives could be launched – all under the pretext of connectivity & societal progress.
Privatisation, spying & surveillance, major mind manipulations, disruptions, evictions, usurpations, acquisitions, commandeering, kidnappings, mass misinformation, appropriations & other extraordinary interventions in everything from cognition to market make-up could be smashed, falsified, imposed or stolen.
The infiltration & agglomeration of smaller industry/enterprise/markets, including the almost near swallowing of previously independent grass-roots economies by newly empowered corporate behemoths (think e-bay, Band Camp et-al) facilitated a massive cultural disempowerment, as reflected by “underground” art now residing on entirely commercial corporate platforms, which are effectively for-profit monopolies run by Silicon Valley business people.
& once independent networks & activity are now functioning under permanent monitoring via the online interfaces they are sold & streamed on, which has serious implications for “political freedoms” whenever the mood changes & targeted content needs to be obstructed or eliminated.
Keen is especially rancorous about the music industry & the kind of “creative destruction” that has seen whole customs, scenes, freedoms & pluralities smashed & narrowed with restricted channels by macro interlopers who claim to be “innovating” sectors that they are actually exterminating.
I find his proclivity a little quixotic, as the music industry was not reputable for the best of conduct, but for certain, the greatly reduced replacement vehicles are far worse in almost all aspects (streaming being the height of shit-cloy).
Despite being dated (seven years is a very long time in the break-neck world of tech), the book & focal argument is still very relevant, & a pretty remarkable prescience has been achieved.
Its worse than ever now, with the appalling “odious buyout” of already frequently toxic debating trite-belch Twitter being purse-snatched by a rampaging plutocrat with a penchant for piss-pouring & Libertarian shit scrape, Elon Musk (World’s richest subhuman), another perfect example of imbalance & big-money interference in public discourse.
How can such a blatant corrupting, skewing & pluto-polarization be allowed to commence when the “public interest”, political neutrality & “conflict of interests” are so clearly violated/jeopardised?
Fuck the internet! at the end of the day – & in the current manifestation – it is simply not worth the avalanche of excrements, the enhancement of negativities & disempowering or corruption of the human condition by a cabal of disgustingly wealthy vandals & thieves from the parasite class.
Andrew Keen, Atlantic Books, 2015, 234 pages.