Friday, August 6, 2010

Resist the Feed

"When the logo’s finished, then we will unveil it. Seven billion people instantly enlightened. Everyone’s rebranded. All the fighting’s over. Say goodbye to conflict. That design’s rejected. There’s no longer language. Only recognition. There’s no longer country. Only corporate colors. Color makes us hungry. Hunger makes us human. Everyone can see it. Everything’s connected." - Neil Cicierega

Imagine a world in which Corporate colors only flew. Where they controlled everything, including education, the food you ate, even the air you breathe. In this world, the earth is dying; overcome by pollution and consumerism. People are in danger and getting sick from the putrid quality of the earth. Their skin is peeling and oozing lesions are growing on their skin. There are riots all over the world and it's our fault. The end draws near and we never did anything to stop it. Technology wins.

This is the setting for M. T. Anderson's novel Feed, in which the planet Earth is in its prime technologically with feeds implanted in nearly every human's skull. The feed allows people to basically have wikipedia inside their mind, as well as a wide array of advertisements. It's kind of like google in your head, ads and all. With that kind of information at their fingertips, humanity shirks their responsibilties to education and the planet and basically allow horrible atrocities to occur through ignorance.

This scares the hell out of me. People, especially in today's society, rely heavily on media influence. We're all on Facebook and MySpace and YouTube. I go on Google multiple times each day. We're flooded by images on the news. We spend hours poring over television shows and movies. But how many of us pick up a book? How many write diligently and thoughtfully? How many have intriguing and pleasant conversations with the people they care about? Not enough. We're all so wrapped up in our own little worlds that we forget there are other people out there and bigger problems than forgetting to update our facebook status.

Now, I'm not knocking technology. I am a big advocate of it. Facebook and YouTube are excellent resources for getting out information and communicating. The YouTube community is one of the tightest knit groups I have ever seen. Certain people really advocate doing good and helping reduce suck in the world, like the Vlogbrothers Hank and John Green. I love the Vlogbrothers. What they and people like them are doing is important. It's a mix of community, comedy, and awareness. I admire their efforts ardently. The entire Nerdfighter community, which I consider myself a member (HOO HAH!) is vital.

However, it worries me that not all people are as clever or brilliant or necessarily as ethical as John and Hank. I worry that people will rely too heavily on technology and through this will be cheated out of important information. Certain things are not meant to be forgotten. This planet of ours is beautiful and awe inspiring but we have to take care of it. I don't want the downfall of Earth and human society to be because of our negligence.

It's never too late to look toward helping the future.

Wow, this entry was really preachy. I sort of apologize, but I sort of don't. Feed, while overwhelmingly interesting and compelling, sort of really freaked me out. And it makes me think. A lot. I want to do something to avert a future like that. I want to resist the feed.


  1. The funny part is, I was just having a conversation about this the other day. Not the book because I haven't even heard of it before, but about how technology is becoming integral to our lives to the point where we aren't going to be able to go to the bathroom without being flashed some sort of ad for something we don't need or want but that we have to look at in order to get some service for free. Over 90% of Goggle's income is from the advertising they do, on video ads and such that annoy the hell out of me while trying to look up something on youtube. I actually wrote a book (well, more of a story, I haven't published it yet) about a civilization based on free knowledge and how that affected life. It was supposed to be a utopian novel, but the more I thought about it and wrote about it, I found out that even with free knowledge, life could not be perfect, and even worse, would end as a dystopia after a few things were taken liberty of. The Utopian world took place after a revolution, but unfortunately while all knowledge was stockpiled, most was forgotten, and my novel focused on the life of one of the people responsible for chronicling the history of the world and converting "Old World" texts into digital files for access to the general population. Unfortunately with the sheer mass of knowledge, things got distorted and lost anyway despite accessibility.
    But that's enough of my spiel/self-advertisement. I liked your blog :-P

  2. Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. If you're interested in this sort of thing, you should really check out the book. It's a good and quick read.