We have increasingly smart, surveillant persuasion architectures. Architectures aimed at persuading us to do something. At the moment it’s clicking on an ad. And that seems like a waste. We’re just clicking on an ad. You know. It’s kind of a waste of our energy. But increasingly it is going to be persuading us to support something, to think of something, to imagine something.
I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that many of us here today like to see our work as a continuation of say the Tech Model Railroad Club or the Homebrew Computer Club, and certainly the terminology and the values of this conference, like open source for example, have their roots in that era. As a consequence it’s easy to interpret any criticism of the hacker ethic—which is what I’m about to do—as a kind of assault.