Re: Truth Machines and Open Networks

Yak Wax (
Sat, 7 Feb 1998 09:03:56 -0800 (PST)

Mark Crosby wrote:

> It's closing in on 10 years since David Gelernter
> first proposed his vision of all-encompassing "MirrorWorlds".

I only mentioned "Mirror Worlds" once, don't get all hung-up on it.

> I just linked from Amazon to UPS to track my book
> order and saw that the package was scanned in my
> local post office this morning. This is useful
> information but is supported by strictly commercial
> interests and it is not available to everyone,
> besides, who else would care?

Exactly, it's a lot easier just to dump that information somewhere
than it is to secure it, so why not? Besides, that information isn't
about you it's about the package.

> [snip] When I purchased
> my groceries, the company recorded the scanned
> information in a private database, which they will
> aggregate with millions of other transactions and
> sell as purchasing trends information back to the
> consumer products companies - they're not about to
> make this data freely available.

Again, that information isn't about you it's about the company. Make
your own records freely available and nobody can make money from
unsolicited information.

> > Eventually, every single thing you do will be stored on the network.
> Why and where? It's one thing to have 'everything'
> being transmitted over 'The Net', it's quite
> something else again to have everything *stored*
> somewhere that anyone can access.

Well any form of computer storage is likely to be accessible, we're
talking about the effects of a global distributed network. If you
can't think of any advantages that you would get out of having your
lifes information stored on computer then you lack imagination. And
what about it being machine-readable and linked to all other
information? Wouldn't that make your life a little easier to
organise? And it doesn't have to be all input (your actions creating
meta on the network) it can be output (the network creating meta
information in the real world.)

> The only thing I
> can see that would make Gelernter's 'ideal' a reality
> is for a world government to mandate that all
> transactions and transmissions by stored centrally -
> just think of all the 'optimizing' 'mechanism design'
> policies the central planners could then dream up!

I wasn't preaching Gelernter's ideal (I just gave the web address!)
Thus I don't care what would make it a reality, I was predicting a
trend, the word "mirror" happened to fit what I was talking about.

> On the other hand, read Greg Bear's novel SLANT for
> some ideas on who might have commercial interests in
> tracking all the urinalysis samples collected by
> intelligent toilets attached to the Net.

Most information would be collected for personal use.


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