(2003-06-25) William Gibson On George Orwell

William Gibson on George Orwell (who would have turned 100 today): The media of "1984" are broadcast technology imagined in the service of a Totalitar Ian state, and no different from the media of Saddam Hussein's Iraq or of North Korea today - technologically backward societies in which information is still mostly BroadCast. Indeed, today, reliance on broadcasting is the very definition of a technologically backward society... It is becoming unprecedentedly difficult for anyone, anyone at all, to keep a secret... In the end, you will be seen (Transparent Society) to have done that which you did... I say "truths," however, and not "truth," as the other side of information's new ubiquity can look not so much transparent as outright crazy. Regardless of the number and power of the tools used to extract patterns from information, any sense of meaning depends on Context, with interpretation coming along in support of one agenda or another. A world of informational transparency will necessarily be one of deliriously multiple viewpoints, shot through with Mis Information, DisInformation, Conspiracy Theory-s and a quotidian degree of madness...

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