Keywords: evil, spam, capitalism, over-organized.
Abstract: Human tends to categorizes the ones of no productive values as redundant, the annoying ones as the abnormal. But the theory of evolution has proved the sources of development are the mutants. Thus, a new perspective should lend to the anomalies.
It is interesting to hear google’s informal motto “Don’t be evil”, which, seems to me,implicitly suggests the potential evilness that a web-based company can do. It is unusual if considering that a public corporation’s morality is not “be good”, but something negatively expressed as “not be evil”. Given this aphorism’s wide acceptance, I guess most of us have bought the assumption that the cyber world inherently tilted to decadence.
But why should we think so? Because of the annoying virus, censorship and other anomalies？
“We…identify them as a major downside (or setback) to a communication revolution that promised to be a noiseless and friction-free Road Ahead. In this context, and against the prescribed and often idealized goals of the visionaries of digital capitalism, they appear to us as anomalies.”—The Spam Book, P3
However, seeing life from another perspective, can always relief our syndromes of depressions caused by perfectionism. John Johnson proposed the ideal of Artificial Evolution, modeling the emergence of digital organisms on biological evolving process. Rather than the flaws of computer system, the viruses like programs are the agents of “genome” exchanges. Their robustness and prevalence correlates with the speed of new species and mutations that arise.
But this model fails to address several problems, one of which is to what extend the digital evolution analogous to the biological model, since the introduction of the variable of Internet significantly complicates the environment. The seemingly unlimited resources of genome segments points to both directions—superb “good” and “evil” softwares can spring up. But the ever changing policies and norms can either suppress or boost the growth. A simulation run in a closed, no biased system can’t illustrate a social event which is largely driven by whimsical men and women. Indeed, there is no more abnormal organism than our human self.
Anyhow, the history tells us that the society composed of the capricious men also has particular trends, even though less predictable than the entities in nature. In the networking age, the new medium of mobile devices certainly is taking the place of radio,TV, and even PC. Can the mobile terminations the” anomalous: device ? Here taking the Ipad as an example, seeing whether it a positive extension of current tech or a vicious mutant wreck damages on daily life.
Its ad claims the new one is “thinner, lighter and better.” As it’s said the bulky body of reasoning and calculation is no more needed; rather, the glaring visual performance is highly appreciated. The keyboard submerged as the virtual one, the ability of writing (typing) is no longer a basic requirement. Surely, some features are better. It is much faster in processing multiple tasks, thus more enjoyments in digital world. Two cameras installed, promising the most convenient interactivity in any place, at any time. Metaphorically, this is culture voracious for instant sensual fulfillment. Can it be called abnormal?
But what is normal? It’s observed by a writer in 1930s that for the modern people their knowledge of love first came from movie. And the most convivial moment of family is often the night of dad playing tennis with kids on a playstation. In fact millions of children spend their summer vocations with TV and Nintendo. This is indeed an i-generation as the series of apple products embodied—the isolated young men aspiring for the tactile experiences between persons.
And the popularity of plush toys and cartoons also illustrate the same point: that the younger generation is indulged in being immature. The capitalism needs highly trained professionals and blissful consumers, but not necessarily rational thinkers. To keep its working stuff docile, consumers compliant is a reasonable logic of capitalism. Thus the taste of childishness, the pursuit of sensation is generally tolerated or even encouraged as a new niche of marketing. No substantial efforts are made to eliminate the problems of child-rearing; no reflections are given on the subject of interpersonal relationships. We human optimistically believed the alienation caused by technology can be overcome by some “more advanced” technologies.
Baudrillard argued that the anomaly is “not the result of society’s inability to integrate its marginal phenomena; on the contrary, it stems from an overcapacity for integration and standardization. When this happens, societies which seem all-powerful are destabilized from within, with serious consequences, for the more efforts the system makes to organize itself in order to get rid of its anomalies, the further it will take its logic of over-organization, and the more it will nourish the outgrowth of those anomalies .”
Thus, rather than disturbing forces that derail the ordinary life, the anomalies are alarming signals issued by a healthy immune system that foreboding a real devastation to the culture. Which is more annoying, a spam email of Dadaism or thousands of really serious emails written around the clock?
Which is more obnoxious, some sordid porns or a bunch of people too fearful to reach out for a mate?
Or which more debased, the virus created by hackers to “show talents”, or the perfect system “inadvertently” inapplicable to open-source software?