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The All New Digital World

February 13, 2016

I’m going to channel my inner King Ludd tonight: I don’t like where we’re headed as a society where everything is digital and streaming. I ranted about this before about how I don’t trust putting shit in the cloud. I also don’t completely buy into streaming movies and television shows either. Ever since Doctor Who was taken away and not to be found anywhere else unless you feel like buying or pirating it.

And I hate that. I don’t really believe in pirating stuff unless absolutely necessary. Not because of some hoity toity ‘I’m too good for that’ attitude, but if there’s legal alternatives that aren’t a huge pain in the ass deal with I’m going to take it. I’m a lazy consumer, but I fall in roughly with 95% of society. But I do side with the pirates on one thing: taking shit if they try to take it away. Which brings me back to Doctor Who: if a corporation can take it away just for ‘losing the license’ then is it really worth it to make everything streaming?

I’d say no. Yeah, it’s convenient, but it also means your selection isn’t your choice, it can and will be taken away from you whenever someone in a suit decides it for you. Yeah, I’m a lazy as fuck consumer, but I’m also wary of the ‘All New Digital Future’ that everyone keeps touting. It finally clicked for me to write this based off of a piece in a Cracked article of all places. Our record keeping now is largely impermeable. Meaning that if a disaster were to hit, that a large chunk of our information would just be gone.

That’s kind of a scary thought to me, that we have virtually no physical copies of anything we’re doing these days. Part of me is hopeful that someone, somewhere is backing this shit up in physical form. My other issue with information being impermeable is that anything that can be made online or in digital form means it can be overwritten or edited.

Which, if your stock and trade is in building trust really…aha…does not build it. You can see this by news stories that are deleted from existence or any other such thing. Amazon got flak for deleting a copy of 1984 which people legally purchased. Yeah, yeah, ‘copyright infringement’ but that’s just the point. If it were in a physical format then the people that bought it would have been able to keep their purchase and not gotten shafted.

Youtube works in the same way: if it’s deemed a copyright issue then the video gets deleted. And you have to prove that, no, you did not violate copyright. I always thought the burden of proof was on the prosecutor, not the defendant. Innocent until proven guilty and all of that fun stuff, but apparently not. Nope. With the DMCA your ass is guilty and it’s up to you to prove you’re innocent. That’s…fucked.

Back to streaming: this scenario really reminds me of the video game crash of 1983 where the market became over-saturated and quality dropped and bye bye video games temporarily only to be reborn with Nintendo using its leverage to keep quality control. You have: Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, HBONow, CBS’s…thing which they’re putting Star Trek behind a pay wall, BBC, Crackle, I think even Disney’s going to be getting in on the act. Now, this isn’t a bad thing, but it is becoming a crowded market and at $7-$15 dollars a subscription, that shit adds up over time.

Not to mention the music streaming services. It’s…a bit much. And my call for unity may eventually happen if I’m right and this inevitably leads to the bubble bursting. I know this seems like me just bitching–it is. I can’t really force this shit to change. But I do thing everyone should strongly consider having hard copies of everything they do and have physical media because as the old saying goes: the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away and sadly, that’s the case here.

It feels like nothing is your own anymore except your thoughts and even those can be monetized if someone pays enough. Hooboy…this is going darker. But yeah, this all digital future that we’re creating is a load of wank and I wish more people would at least consider the consequences of trusting machines too much because everything ends someday. Let’s just hope the ending isn’t too cataclysmic.

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