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Old 11-24-2002, 04:14 PM   #1
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The Future of Technology

Quite honestly, to me, the future of technology is bleak. Of course, I don't mean that technological advances are going to cease--in fact, I expect technology to exponentially increase as time goes on. What upsets me is the nature of technology.

We should see it coming. In the first half of the 1990s, before internet access was common, there was a certain paradigm to technology that allowed the consumer to consistently "do more" with it. And what technology has done for us! Digital applications of film, for instance, has shown us worlds that look as real as if they actually existed concretely. Digital technology, in addition, has finally made signal degradation a thing of the past; endless flawless copies of video and audio can be preserved infinitely...

...but we had to know that this wouldn't last forever. The concept of business requires one to constantly "buy." With technology hitting a place near "perfection," we've now hit the newest phase of technological advancement: control. Yes, while technology of the 1980s and most of the 1990s were built with the idea of giving the consumer more and more, technology is now being created to significantly control what we can do with technology.

Ever hear of Microsoft's .NET initiatives? You might have heard the term ".NET" before in dealing with the Microsoft Passport system. That doesn't even scratch the surface. .NET, when fully in place (perhaps 2010?), will set up a subscription-based service to Microsoft and all its software--namely, MS Windows--and to eliminate package-based software that one can currently buy at stores. Of course, what that means is that, effectively, Microsoft wins. By making itself a "utility" company of sort, it can ensure itself a constant and significant source of income, while controlling every aspect of what you can install on your computer. Do you not think that third-party software makers won't fall in line?

The second phase of ensuring .NET's dominance (after Microsoft Passport) is "Palladium," or Digital Rights Management (DRM). Both the dominant Intel and its main competitor, AMD, intend to encode this system into its chips. DRM's explicit purpose is to force copyright control. Sure, these companies may be unable to stop P2P services like Kazaa currently, but all they needed to do was to put in controls into the PC itself that won't allow such programs to run. DRM systems in development have zero regard for privacy and insist on the computer user identifying him/herself before using any of this media--which, of course, will be time-limited media that one must purchase and will not be transferrable to other computers or devices like MP3 players. As it stands, an early form of DRM already exists in Windows Media Player with an embedded "globally-unique identifier" (GUID) that tracks all users. The GUID logs what media the user views and "phones home" to a central server to pick up content titles (similar to CDDB-enabled applications).

Once DRM is fully encrypted in each new PC, effectively, privacy will be fully non-existant. First, it comes off with the seemingly "lawful" intent of eliminating copyright violations. But does it stop there? Certainly not. HDTV is expected to be fitted with encrypters that prevent copying. Goodbye to VCRs as we know them, as these encrypters are to prevent one from transferring media to another machine. Want to borrow a tape from a friend? You're going to be out of luck!

This is all possible, thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA), which, effectively, eliminated prior Fair Use legislation in regards to all digital media--CDs, DVDs, HDTV, PCs...anything digital. The concept of "independence" in computing and digital media will be a distant memory by 2010, just as the i486 is now a distant memory from ten years prior. With DRM embedded in everything from computer chips to hard drives to even removeable media, we'll be reduced to nothing more than a passive commercial audience--a lamentingly far cry from when the computer moguls of our time--Microsoft's Bill Gates and one of Apple's co-founders, Steve Wozniak--were little more than college dropouts hacking apart old Altair systems and advancing computing much further than the corporate counterparts were willing to do.

DRM, DMCA, coupled with the "anti-terrorism" provisions in the U.S. Patriot Act of 2001 and the bill that created Homeland Security Department most recently, will ensure that privacy we take for granted today will cease to be. The makings of an Orwellian nightmare is just around the corner, and, whether we like it or not, will exist in no less than ten years time...and all of it is perfectly legal.

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Old 11-24-2002, 05:30 PM   #2
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www.2600.com

Read it--and don't think that they're a bunch of paranoid hackers. This site (and magazine) largely falls into the "scary but true" category.
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Old 11-24-2002, 05:45 PM   #3
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I personally believe Aldous Huxley has a more accurate prediction of the future than George Orwell.

But perhaps I may interest you in this book...

Jacques Ellul's The Technological Society

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Old 11-24-2002, 05:50 PM   #4
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Thanks melon, I didn't know all of that. Quite interesting.

Well-written, too.
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Old 11-24-2002, 06:07 PM   #5
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Originally posted by pub crawler
Well-written, too.
Thanks. And I did write this one myself, rather than just copying an article.

I have been a techie since I was quite young, and I can assure you that all of the technology mentioned by me is very much a possibility, and, almost certainly, will be made a reality.

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Old 11-24-2002, 10:04 PM   #6
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So what does everyone have to hide that is at risk now?
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Old 11-24-2002, 10:18 PM   #7
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Sting, that's a weak argument and you know it. The question is not over whether or not we have something to hide. The question is whether or not the government, or major corporations, have the right to know if we're hiding something. The right to privacy is a cornerstone of American life.
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Old 11-24-2002, 11:14 PM   #8
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The right to privacy to hide something that could threaten me, you, or someone else is not a conerstone of American life. But my question was just that, a question, and not necessarily an arguement.
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Old 11-25-2002, 04:20 AM   #9
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not meaning to sound paranoid

This is happening now....it's just not as digital...it's your Social Security #. Everywhere you go for a job, school, getting a credit card, bank accounts, etc.. all require your SSI. It may take a while but someone with brains can track where you go, what you buy, what you do. People use credit/debit/checks more than they use cash, just because it's somehow easier. But everytime you purchase something not using cash, you get thrown into a giant database. Of course retail says that that database is just in case you bounced past checks or had bank account problems. However it also serves the purpose of monitoring what is bought.

Almost everything can be traced back to your SSI, it is just not as instant as the hardware and software encryption that is coming down the pike.
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Old 11-25-2002, 07:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by paxetaurora
www.2600.com

Read it--and don't think that they're a bunch of paranoid hackers. This site (and magazine) largely falls into the "scary but true" category.
Yeah, 2600 has been around for quite some time.

Ever been to a meeting?
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Old 11-25-2002, 10:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
So what does everyone have to hide that is at risk now?
Of course this is a ridiculous argument! What are the ultimate consequences if all this comes to pass? Have you ever downloaded U2 mp3s, even live ones? With DRM in place, the RIAA and the music industry may decide that all mp3s of their recording artists are unauthorized, and DRM may relay back to a central server that you have downloaded an "illegal" U2 mp3, notifying legal authorities.

Ever hear of Linux? This program may flat out fail to run on DRM-enabled computers, and, since it is likely going to be a Microsoft-proprietary code, any "open-source" programs may be determined to be a violation of the DMCA's policies on "reverse engineering" and, again, banned. Hence, Microsoft will, effectively, reach a 100% dominance, and we'll all be forced to pay "utility" costs to it with .NET fully in place if we wish to run an operating system.

Do you ever share documents or any media with anyone? Even another computing device you own? With DRM, that will be forbidden! You will have to pay for that media or eBook, and you will be restricted to only keep it on your specific computer. Your hard drive fails and you have to reformat? Tough shit! Buy it again!

Happen to have an unpopular "suspicious" opinion? The "anti-terrorism" legislation could take residence on your PC and relay key words to a central government server. In fact, everything you do on the internet will be hooked up by a uniquely identifiable IPv6 address (has been in development for close to a decade). The government decides that Interference.com is "subversive" all of a sudden? Won't take much at all to find out who has looked at the site...and they won't even have to approach the site owner or the ISP to find out this information.

And herein lies the problem. The above lets "business" patrol us as a police force, heavily restricting both illegal and certain legal content unchecked. Such technology could simply be used as commercial vengeance against competitors, giving us fewer options than ever. The bottom involves the government doing massive surveillance of its own citizens without any probable cause or warrant. And we laugh at nations like China, where the government restricts access to the internet? We're becoming worse!

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Old 11-25-2002, 10:40 AM   #12
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Sting, this is not about national security. This is about the right to continue to share information and media, and the right to choose (for example) what kind of software platforms we choose and how those platforms are run. Protection against unreasonable search and seizure has not, to my knowledge, been suspended (although we're probably on our way there! Ha ha!!!)

I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I might, possibly, be free, at least this week, assuming that I keep my mouth shut and don't argue with the nice Dubya or his friend Mr. Ashcroft.
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Old 11-25-2002, 11:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


Ever hear of Linux? This program may flat out fail to run on DRM-enabled computers, and, since it is likely going to be a Microsoft-proprietary code, any "open-source" programs may be determined to be a violation of the DMCA's policies on "reverse engineering" and, again, banned. Hence, Microsoft will, effectively, reach a 100% dominance, and we'll all be forced to pay "utility" costs to it with .NET fully in place if we wish to run an operating system.


That makes me angry. Very well-written & well thought out ideas Melon.

What do you guys think of Bill Gates? I know he donates billions of dollars to charities and Bono raves about how generous he is aiding in DATA, but when you read about stuff like this.. what do you think?

I also wonder when the line will be drawn, and when (if) the American public will realize the "Big Brother" that is being allowed to happen by control over the computer. A little scary.
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Old 11-25-2002, 02:00 PM   #14
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I'm certainly against companies like microsoft that are or are becoming virtual monopolies in the computer industries. But I do not have a problem with the government increasing its ability to search the internet and E-mail for members of Al-Quada or other terrorist. Al-Quada are known to use the internet and E-mail to communicate and I fully support the government to have an increased capability to intercept them and possibly prevent events that could cost thousands of peoples lives.

Actually, I have not downloaded any U2 mp3s of concerts. But I do have a very large collection of U2 concerts, nearly 100, but I got this through trades with friends or people I met and also through purchase at shops occasionally. The bootleg market is tiny, and RIAA does not care about the thousands of people that get a hold of U2 concerts that they are not selling. What RIAA does care about is the file sharing of music of officially released albums that is hurting music sales. RIAA clearly has a right to crack down on those that are essentially stealing their and the artist officially released product.

I don't share documents, media, or other computer devises with anyone. I may E-mail or tell someone where something is on the net, but thats about it.

Just because the government could moniter everything on interference.com, which they can and may even do already without new legislation, does not mean that they will consider it subversive and have it shut down. They allow far more questionable things to happen on the streets of Washington DC with these crazy protest. That really is a bit paranoid.

I already thought that there was a uniquely identifiable IPv6 address. So the government can monitor what you do on the interenet. If your not doing anything illegal, you have nothing to worry about, and no one would care.

I'm certainly not for companies restricting peoples options or preventing competition, but I fully support the governments right to to help secure my right to live in freedom and be secure.

It seems that you have the belief that if the Government, has the technical ability to do something , then it will. If the government has the ability to do total and complete surveillance on anyone without any legitamite reason, then it will. The Government has always had the power to do all kinds of things, but it has not. We live in a democracy not a dictatorship. The people of this country could change the entire government two years from now. It is a technical possibility and sometimes actually does happen. I can think of tons of things that the government has had the technical ability to do against its citizens on a mass scale, but have not because it is against the law. To many people here forget the millions of people who work for the government who are noble, proffessional, and take the laws of the country and idea's of democracy far more seriously than most private citizens. They also forget the many checks and balances that are government has. The government is simply not the monster that anti-government people make it out to be.
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Old 11-25-2002, 02:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
But I do not have a problem with the government increasing its ability to search the internet and E-mail for members of Al-Quada or other terrorist. Al-Quada are known to use the internet and E-mail to communicate and I fully support the government to have an increased capability to intercept them and possibly prevent events that could cost thousands of peoples lives.
I have no problem with reasonable policing efforts. However, all efforts put in since 9/11 have zero checks-and-balances to prevent abuse.

Quote:
Actually, I have not downloaded any U2 mp3s of concerts. But I do have a very large collection of U2 concerts, nearly 100, but I got this through trades with friends or people I met and also through purchase at shops occasionally. The bootleg market is tiny, and RIAA does not care about the thousands of people that get a hold of U2 concerts that they are not selling. What RIAA does care about is the file sharing of music of officially released albums that is hurting music sales. RIAA clearly has a right to crack down on those that are essentially stealing their and the artist officially released product.
A car dealership in Detroit, to prevent people from being late on payments, put in a system in all their cars to immediately halt the car from even starting. A court threw out this system, stating that even though it was a system to protect their payments, that they still could not take the law into their own hands--they had to go through the court system like everyone else. To me, DRM is exactly that--the RIAA becoming a vigilante organization that completely circumvents the same laws and due process that were put into the Constitution for a reason. Not everything needs to be run like a military tribunal...

Quote:
I don't share documents, media, or other computer devises with anyone. I may E-mail or tell someone where something is on the net, but thats about it.
Hope you aren't directing someone to an "illegal" content (i.e., MP3s). E-mail monitoring would likely get you in trouble for that.

Quote:
Just because the government could moniter everything on interference.com, which they can and may even do already without new legislation, does not mean that they will consider it subversive and have it shut down. They allow far more questionable things to happen on the streets of Washington DC with these crazy protest. That really is a bit paranoid.
They can't right now; that's the thing. As it currently stands, the Internet is a decentralized conglomerate of servers with some semblance of privacy. The government, so far, has had to go directly to ISPs for investigations and, if they wish to monitor a particular user, they have been able to do it at the ISP level.

Quote:
I already thought that there was a uniquely identifiable IPv6 address. So the government can monitor what you do on the interenet. If your not doing anything illegal, you have nothing to worry about, and no one would care.
No, we don't have IPv6. We just have IP. The addresses used, depending on the ISP, can either be dynamic or static--but if you go to a different computer, you can get a completely different one. Hence why some people banned here can return. With IPv6, you will have a personally identifiable address that will likely travel with you on each computer. I'm guessing that, with DRM and associated technologies, you'll likely have to enter a username / password, which will retrieve your personally identifiable information.

Quote:
I'm certainly not for companies restricting peoples options or preventing competition, but I fully support the governments right to to help secure my right to live in freedom and be secure.
Reminds me of the Dark Ages. The Vikings invade and the nobility tells everyone that they'll protect them on their land, in return for working the land. Hence, Europe was enslaved under feudalism for 1000 years. Are "terrorists" today's "Vikings"?

Quote:
It seems that you have the belief that if the Government, has the technical ability to do something , then it will. If the government has the ability to do total and complete surveillance on anyone without any legitamite reason, then it will. The Government has always had the power to do all kinds of things, but it has not. We live in a democracy not a dictatorship.
This is the problem. The legislation in the U.S. Patriot Act of 2001 and the Homeland Security Act of 2002 have little oversight and plenty of closed-door "secrecy." If the Bush Administration has the right to keep things from Congress, which is supposed to balance the power of the executive branch, then guess what? You're opening the door to corruption. We may technically live in a republic, but when your politicians have little regard for upholding the law, then we're out of luck.

Quote:
The people of this country could change the entire government two years from now. It is a technical possibility and sometimes actually does happen. I can think of tons of things that the government has had the technical ability to do against its citizens on a mass scale, but have not because it is against the law. To many people here forget the millions of people who work for the government who are noble, proffessional, and take the laws of the country and idea's of democracy far more seriously than most private citizens. They also forget the many checks and balances that are government has. The government is simply not the monster that anti-government people make it out to be.
Well, I hope you remember this statement a decade from now. We've deregulated business enough that Microsoft can do whatever the hell it wants--and will with DRM, which is scheduled to be rolled out in 2004. Get a top-of-the-line computer now, before they ruin them. And forget the millions of people who work for the government; they're tools for those in power. Do you think Bush gives a fuck about them? He's going to privatize several hundred thousand of them, and he successfully evaded the labor unions with the Homeland Security Department. Bush, like his father, have no regard for the checks-and-balances in our government, and simply wish to advance their own agenda.

But this is folly. I did not write this article expecting something to change; only to inform people of it. Do I really think that democracy works in this nation? Heh...I stopped believing that our politicians listened to us years ago. I guess I can't compete with corporate donors. And what I've always hated about America is that we can never prevent something before it turns into a monster; we're just too trusting when it comes down to it, and we don't miss what we will lose until we've already lost it.

A toast to the end of technology as we know it!

Melon
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