Things feared being written are usually the things that should be written, so, well, here it goes… I believe that:
Out of the ashes, a Hacker will emerge…
You are online reading a blog post, so already you have an advantage over the majority of the population of this planet. You most likely arrived here via Twitter or Facebook or you Googled your way here, so there you have another advantage. You know how to use the Web, you know how to access information, and you have at the least a rudimentary understanding of computers and social media. You have an advantage over the majority of the population of this planet.
Yet, you are most likely an average person like me. You have a job, you might still be in school, you have a place to live, a family, perhaps a pet, you’ve enjoyed Lost, you love Doctor Who; you know? Average. Like me.
But, just as with anything, if we are the average, the middle of the line… And, say my grandma, who still can’t operate a touchtone telephone, is located at one extreme of this scale… What would be the other? (warning: complicated sentence ahead) What amount of computer skill is to mine: what mine is to my grandma’s?
Now, before we go on, I want to mention that I believe that being able to do something doesn’t automatically equate with doing it. A chemist may have the knowledge and ability to make a bomb that can be smuggled on board a plane, but that doesn’t make all chemists potential terrorists. A mental component is required.
Skill by itself is an anecdotal human attribute, but combined with human will, vision, and imagination, skill becomes a tool of change and an agent of history. For good or for ill is for much wiser people than I to debate. I’m a sci-fi writer; my job is to state the obvious in relatively clever ways.
As much as I hate to admit it, Mapple (you know, Apple in The Simpsons) was right, we should begin to Think Differently.
There exist two realities now. The Analog World and the Digital World, and whether we want to admit it or not, they are beginning to link with each other, to depend on each other, like us and our mitochondria.
Now, my grandma, even though she can’t use a touchtone phone, still has a bank account. And that account is in the digital world. A hacker could rob her.
Now, the hacker, he has a body. And that body is in the analog world. My grandma could beat him up. (She’s from eastern Europe, very sturdy, trust me!)
My guess is that there are as many hackers out there that rob grandmas as there are grandmas out there beating people up. Seriously, I work with stats, that makes perfect sense, there are some mean grandmas out there, don’t forget! The skill is anecdotal; behaviour (for good or ill) is the result of the mental component. (warning: bad sentence ahead) The method of execution of the mental component is skill based because that’s what the person executing the mental component knows how to do best.
Back to the hacker army and the thinking differently…
Trenches changed warfare. Before that (and we scoff and laugh when we see it, calling it so stupid!) people stood facing each other in a row waiting to be shot at by other people in a nice little row waiting to be shot at. Trenches (holes in the ground! A technology discovered right after the smell of pooh!) changed ‘modern’ warfare!
Yet, an entire digital parallel world whose laws of reality can be manipulated at will by those that have the skill and will do so is completely ignored. Well, maybe not completely, but more like awkwardly…
This world. The digital world. The world where you, little average gentle reader you, with your own computer skill, surfed digital waves of information that brought you to these little glowing pixels which your brain now interprets as words which, as you’re reading them, begin to form ideas, and forming ideas, remembering them, processing their possibility… Did you know, gentle reader, that these actions, my writing this text and you reading it, actually change your brain chemistry? That they strengthen or weaken neuronal pathways? You have been changed forever by what you’ve just read: the act of reading it changed the way you’ll think forever. (I admit, only a tiny little bit, but still, the theory is sound.)
This digital world, the citizens of this digital world, those who identify themselves culturally with this world are willing to fight the analog injustices as well. All they need is a: Go!
Digital citizens, natives and immigrants alike, are not warriors by nature. They are more like my chemist example from before… They have the potential to do something… Not the will, vision, or imagination… Hackers have to lead by example. They are the Goku to our Krillin. Most just don’t know it yet.
The digital world will always be a ‘wild west’. Hackers will always be outlaws. In this world the law is the system and challenging the system improves it, but instead of challenging the system, what if we pointed these Digital Samurai at real world Analog Evil?
I watch the news. Genocide in New Guinea… Rwanda… The Congo… So much stupidity… It’s absurd to me… Cold… So many people dying for nothing… There are so many examples… If you have the skill, choose a cause and rip these evil bastards a new one! Do you think these poor people, the ones being killed, whose kids that are being stolen, the people being raped and tortured; do you think they have bank accounts? No! But the ones doing this to them do… Do you think these types of victims care what you do to their country online? They don’t even know what the word online means! They simply don’t want to die. They don’t want to be raped. They don’t want to be abused and have their children brainwashed to become murderers. They’re salt of the Earth analog people.
We need a Hacker Army to destroy those who do these horrible things to these poor people, to destroy these warlords online, level their identities, steal their money and transfer it to those who can do the most good for the victims of all these horrible crimes. Chose a warlord, and rip him a new one! Or, not… It’s just a thought…
We are The Singularity. All we have to do is realize it.