As I grew up many pejoratives were applied to me from retard to bastard, and a whole range around this range. As the son of a carpenter, I learned early the joy of putting things together, discovering I was good at it. The computer was not a part of my life growing up though, so there were two pejoratives I never wore - nerd or geek.

Getting into computers a quarter century ago, and discovering that once again I had the ability to put one of these things together did not come without cost. Carpenters and woodworkers can show pride in the craftmanship they employ to make something out of wood. There is no such pride one can show in building a computer from motherboard out. To try to explain this effort to someone who is not versed in this technology will cause the eyes to glaze over and the intelligence expressed to be considered a threat - hence the pejorative nerd, geek, or worse.

Whiie working for CompUSA, I constantly tried to quash the expression "computer illiterate". I explained that people never walked into a lawyer's office saying they were legally illiterate, or a doctor's office saying they were medically illiterate, but those unfamiliar with the technology of the hour felt more comfortable putting down their lack of experience rather than just walking in with a question and asking it.

We all have to learn somewhere, but this inane fear of technology is one reason why it takes some effort to grasp the technology used by Big Brother today and the FBI tomorrow. The perception is that this technology comes from some amorphous world where strange, ungraspable things happen. So to try to explain the new Big Brother and the new efforts of the FBI, and even connect those dots to the concern over the survelience efforts facing the OWS movement is like washing one's hands in used motor oil - extremely yucky.

There is nothing special about understanding the Silicon Moat. If the son of a carpenter can comprehend this, most people can. As the Robinson robot in Lost In Space kept yelling while waving his arms, we need to pay heed to the warning "Danger. Danger Will Robinson". It is out there and we can't let the warning go over our heads.


politicalview's picture
politicalview 8 years 4 weeks ago

You are right about one thing, Big Brother is out there. But he's not who you think he is. Sure, there are some things going on that the government is doing, but that's not the major threat to you and me and our freedom. Take a closer look at what big business is doing to us. Almost everyone has a cell phone. A device that has a GPS build in to it that can be turned on remotely at any time. A device that - along with our IPADs and other computers - traces everywhere we go, everthing we buy, every interest we have, and every person with whom we communicate. People sign up for Facebook because it's fun and an easy way to communicate. Then, without any thought, they check all the things that they are interested in, start communications with people they've never met and reveal things about themselves that were never intended to be known publicly. Technology can be a great tool, but I'm not willing to give up my information on a promise from any business. We trusted them with our economy. How did that work out?

Since we are the government and, with enough public involvement, we can take the government any where we want, I'm not worried about them. I AM worried about powerful, immoral corporations who have the ability to do about anything that they want to do.

politicalview's picture
politicalview 8 years 4 weeks ago

BTW. I have over 30 years in IT. I've done everthing from develop code to work on hardware to design networks to being an IT Director in a large firm. Trust me. If we don't start enforcing the anti-trust laws, we're all going to be at the mercy of "the company".

Commander Gary Brune's picture
Commander Gary Brune 8 years 4 weeks ago

Hello Political View;

Check the archives for September when i first wrote about The Silicon Moat. You are absolutely right. As a trained journalist, more than 15 years ago I saw what I could do with a computer by altering a simple note from my boss. At that time we also donloaded the first pictures from Mars.

That power is amazing, but in the wrong hands it can be disasterous, and in the amoral hands of business it makes 1984 read like a fairy tale.

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