Sunday, February 22, 2009

Facebook and the "Feed"

There's this book I read a few years ago written by a fellow named M.T Anderson called "Feed" that made a lasting impression on me then because [in the tradition of George Orwell's "1984"] I found it's fictional content eerily similar to our reality. Here is a plot summary taken from the ever reliable Wikipedia [no but seriously this is actually accurate]:

Feed (2002) is a dystopian novel of the postcyberpunk genre by M. T. (Matthew Tobin) Anderson. The story revolves around a teenage boy and his relationship with a girl with a vastly different world perspective. They live within a futuristic world where technology has merged electronics and telecommunications with the human mind, something which plays a major role in the novel. The book is a dark satire about corporate power, consumerism, information technology, and data mining in society. Their life revolves around advertising, and the Feed does everything for them.

The story depicts a future in which the Internet has evolved into the "Feednet"; a computer network to which the brains of American citizens are directly connected by means of an implanted computer chip called a "Feed", which over 70% of Americans have set in their brain. Privacy has become a thing of the past; Corporations are free to monitor and manipulate citizens' thoughts, people's thoughts are interrupted by the mental equivalent of pop-up ads, sometimes to a debilitating degree, and the government can even subpoena one's memories.

People can "M-Chat" each other (a form of evolved Instant Messaging) on closed channels, effectively creating a form of telepathy. In addition, the Feed chip is implanted at such an early age that it actually takes over the running of many brain functions as the child matures. As a result, certain sites on the Feednet allow users to go "In Mal"; deliberately cause their feed chips to malfunction, causing physical and mental sensations similar to some illegal drugs.

The natural environment has also undergone extensive damage; atmospheric conditions no longer allow the natural formation of cloud and the sky is filled with artificial Clouds(™) and the ocean has become so acidic that whales are sheathed in plastic coverings.

Cut to maybe five years later and we have FACEBOOK!! that life sucking force of destruction hell bent on trying each day to manipulate us by suggesting the "friends" we should have, the television shows we should watch, the musicians we should "fan", the "causes" we should support and the list goes on and on. Think i'm exaggerating? Then I suggest that those of you who are on this "social network" simply pay attention to the advertisements on the right hand corner of each page, and not to mention the onslaught of notifications you have no interest in.

Close attention should also be paid to the "Live Feed" feature, we are under constant surveillance!

Now of course we do not have microchips implanted in our brains, but it is only a matter of time people...facebook may just be the 1st prototype....BEWARE!! the very least read the book it is quite interesting.