Sunday, January 13, 2013

13 of 95: Your Google-fu is no good here

13. What's happening to markets is also happening among employees. A metaphysical construct called "The Company" is the only thing standing between the two.

[Part 12]

Here's a radical thought for you: what if Google simply vanished one day?

I'm quite fond of this thought. Not because of any particular animosity towards Google, but because the notion of millions upon millions of bots doing billions of pings into the void of eternal 404s is a brutal and profound visualization of what transience means. And of what it really means to move from a centralized system of communication to a radically decentralized one.

The internetional botnet you are trying to reach is no longer available.

Right now, at ths very moment, an uncountable number of coders count on the continued existence of the Google for their codemunching. SEO mystics write their arcane formulas, trend analysts tune their bots for certain keywords, any number of back-end applications attaches a string to the one node that answers all pinged queries -

Hey, even lazy writers code for Google, using the always-already tired formula of "a search for the words x gives n results..."

Imagine all of this simply breaking down. 404, page not found, connection timed out. All dependencies are severed, are supply chains are cut off, all lines of communication are returned to All businesses based on the Google doing its magic - dead. All consultants based on condensing the Google experience into what the customer need to head - out of work. All possibilities of making money - no more.

Hyperbole alert? Well, yes.

But I imagine this is in the spirit of how those who fear the advent of the internet, file sharing and the other new forms of communication. Being as dependant as they are on the one logic operator - capitalism - the notion of doing it without the immediate medium of money is as frightening as frightening can be. Suddenly, everything that has been proven to be right in both theory and practice is said to be both null and void, and it is only natural to go on the defensive in response to that. Especially

There is a reason hackers are routinely pictured as either socially maladjusted misfits living in their mom's basements or as supermegahyperdangerous geniuses with almost magical skills. Those who defy a given paradigm are either all out crazy or outright dangerous - if they are wrong, they are wrong, and if they are right, then all bets are off. Those criminals can't be up to no good, ignoring the rules that decent people follow.

I want you to ponder the image of the suddenly disappearing Google for a while. If you are anything like me, it will eventually give you some insight into the worldview of those who just can't seem to get what the while deal with global instant communication is. A sense of that confused asking of the question: if not this, then what?

Like a bot pinging the Google that suddenly wasn't there. Wanting and needing only a Googled response, no matter how many ducks are a go go.

It is only appropriate to end this with a Pink Floyd quote. I'm pretty sure you can Google yourself to the song in question, so here goes:

All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.

I'll see you tomorrow for part fourteen.

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