Lately, American politics has been getting through my filters.
My Facebook friends on both extremes of the political spectrum switched from inundating my feed with kittens and puppies to an overflow of political commentary for the past six months or so.
(Note to self: I really need to build a new Facebook without the sharing feature. Original content only.)
I’m still usually able to blissfully ignore politicians and their ranting commentators in my daily news and just catch up on what’s going on in the relatively sane world of science and technology.
However, it seems that now the leaders in the tech industry have decided to get vocally involved in politics.
Which is causing a problem for my filters.
Fortunately, I actually find it interesting, though not for any of the content or commentary.
What I do find interesting is that one scenario of Snow Crash that I thought fascinating but rather unlikely could actually be playing out at this very moment.
It’s difficult for me to fathom, but there may be a few of you out there who have never read what is, in my opinion, the greatest work of science fiction on the planet.
“Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson offers an intriguing look into our future world given one possible evolution of society and technology.
Since I first read Snow Crash back in the 90’s, I believed (and still believe) that the Metaverse—the next generation of the Internet—is inevitable, and for a long time I thought I would play a role in creating that future.
The part of the world of Snow Crash that seemed less plausible was that the world was controlled not by governments, but by corporations.
In Snow Crash, the federal government of the United States still exists in a few isolated compounds, but it has very little power and spends its time in tedious transactions that are largely irrelevant to the world around it.
Instead, the real power is controlled by large corporations such as “Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong” and the “American Mafia Corporation” that rule sovereign territories called “enclaves” with their own mercenary security forces.
Interesting, but totally implausible.
What happens when mega-corporations switch from using their wealth for behind-the-scenes political influence to outright defiance of their respective governments?
They wouldn’t do that, right?
Yesterday my tech news was overrun with commentary about political statements from the leaders of every one of the mega-corporations that control the technology that shapes our everyday lives, with at least one of them joining in demonstrations.
And today I read the headline “Tech companies to meet on plan to challenge immigration order”.
So now the top tech companies are joining forces against their government?
I guess that makes sense, since the latest executive order impacts their hiring practices.
I begin to wonder, though, if we’re starting down the path toward the sovereign enclaves of “Sergey Brin’s Greater Google Mountain View”, “Tim Cook’s Cupertino Apple”, “Jeff Bezos’ Amazon Jungle”, and “Mark Zuckerberg’s United Facebook States”.
As for me?
I plan to grab my smartwheels, pick up a fresh slice of Uncle Enzo’s pizza, hire a FireFly and head for “Elon Musk’s SpaceX Mars”.