“…because of its gadgets and its landscapes. It wasn’t special because of its ideas about technology or progress: instead, it was special because of its language, and the assumptions and techniques readers used to interpret that language, and the ways writers’ knowledge of those assumptions and techniques affected the stories they wrote.”
Matthew Cheney on Samuel Delany.
Why do I blog this?Just a small nugget that helps communicate the special effect of designing with science fiction, and designed fictions. It may be that it is the *language and this idea of the *assumptions and preconceptions readers or those to whom the communication is directed — the things brought to the story, or small moment in which a new sort of experience is depicted. Small extrapolations, such as this idea of a near future world one could imagine based on today mentioned in Sandy Irwin Cohn’s Singularist in which Google’s search becomes Google Find™ as just about everything becomes indexed and meta-referenced — not just physical data, but objects and things, of course.
In the middle of the drunken satellite debacle no one noticed a completely unrelated event, but they would come to see the satellite as a minor scroll-down news item afterward. It probably would not have become a trender until after the satellite fell off the tail. But, the DRM virus went emergent viral and people noticed outages right away. Actually, outage isn’t the right word. Things went missing. And “missing” was a word that the Google generation could barely pronounce, let alone understand.
The DRM failure was epic. There was nothing wrong with the DRM tech — it was just NP complete to an unfortunate cascade of parameters. As it turned out. Google Find™ was a way to Google in 3D, in the rest of the world that had been nearly forgotten as 6.2 billion active users were in their screen worlds. It was brilliant in the way it could fingerprint anything — and then keep track of that anything, anywhere just about all the time. The digital media rights management stuff from the previous decade? — that was barely an obscure, useless diacritic in a footnote in the near future of intellectual and creative property law. It took multivalent, multiperspective tagging and identification algorithms to make it possible to have true, robust identification of everything from music and movies (no brainer, even the remixes could be backtracked to their multiple originals to 98.9% accuracy) to knock-off sneakers and forged car parts. Point a camera at your left sneaker — and Google Find™ would tell you what it was, when you bought it on Craigslist, what you paid for it, what its resale was, where it was made, from what components with their toxicity, what its carbon footprint was, who the cobbler working what shift in which factory in Kandahar or Pyongpang or wherever the hell. And if you sprung for the $79 Google Find Pro annual license fee — the netware could also tell you where the heck your right sneaker was hiding.
What is curious about this story is the way it spirals into the bumps and errors and failures of this mutation of Google Search into something not so good, where everything spins out of control. A good extrapolation and despite the downfall of things — it still holds onto a possible extrapolation of today into a world where things go missing despite the extensive cataloging and indexing of the world’s everythings.