The internet is large enough that we could, if we chose, use it as a global inventory control system and surveillance network.
It's technically possible to create a database of today's consumer price index, and to *privately* regulate prices within a variable range, within limits, so as not to cause economic chaos.
This would then permit extropians to live on an allowance of Gutenberg printed money.
We would be a new layer in the intelligence community. Watched, but free to communicate openly, and live comfortably.
However, we would need to develop a filtering system that protected us from religious fundamentalists and intolerant thinkers.
For example, I have updated my home page at http://define.com to include a Linux icon that contains my version of a skunkweed pro-hemp emblem. However, this symbol would likely cause alarm or agitation if viewed by certain non-libertarians.
There are two icons with similar names, but only one is displayed.
I'm sure that it is possible to intercept http traffic to and from my ISP, so that certain requestors see one version of the bitmap, and certain requestors see another version of the bitmap.
I do not have the database to determine who should see which version.
However, I believe that the intelligence community and large phone companies probably have memeset databases accurate enough to determine who would see which image.
This brings us to the question of verification and authentication.
For example, last night on CNN I saw video of UN weapons inspectors leaving Baghdad. What is the possibility that this footage was shot four days ago, and that three days ago a dense array of neutron bombs was detonated over Baghdad? How do I know that the information I'm receiving is current and accurate? How do I authenticate the news?
What if there was a PC hardware component list of optimal components that could be used to build a PC workstation for use either as a Windows95 game machine, Windows98 home office system, WindowsNT office workstation, or Linux Workstation/Server?
What if the system was assembled in each OS configuration, loaded with a full suite of software (WP, Database, Spreadsheet, Internet Clients, Servers, Games), then cloned using Powerquest Drive Image (http://www.powerquest.com) or Norton Ghost (http://www.ghost.com)?
I would have made an example of that hardware list, but others can come up with that.
If the list included links to "this week's" lowest priced wholesale component vendors, than this would create a resource for bypassing retail and mail order channels for hardware and software systems.
Essentially, the whole retail computer trade would be made obsolete, and so would the service sector than normally performs installation functions.
In other words, we are technically at a point where we can "automate ourselves out of our jobs". I don't think this is bad, it's just that we need some sort of income to compensate for the lack of employment.
Personally, I think Microsoft Windows is an o.k. product, with a lot of great hardware and software. It's just that I don't believe in paying for the software, and I don't believe in paying middlemen for the hardware, especially when the hardware is outdated before it's advertised!
So, we need a system for amnesty for technology workers, and filtering to prevent the labor and service sector from being panicked.
In my opinion, the solution is to switch over the Riegel economic system (i.e., forgive all debts, and pay knowledge workers an allowance for being discrete about their knowledge of extropy).