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Decolonising the Future: Not to go where Cyborgs have gone before?

By M. I. Franklin

Abstract

Can those of us living in hi-tech, computer-dependent parts of the world imagine a future without the Internet? By that I mean everyday life without the means of 24/7 communication with family, friends and colleagues, access to information resources, professional or leisure-based products and services? Even those without full access, who use the web reluctantly or have unplugged themselves from the global information infrastructure that underpins the disjunctures and differences of the world today still have to work and live with the rest of us who take these facilities for granted. This reflection considers what form and substance a future information society, however defined, might take as if this were purely a problem-solving exercise is to let the tail wag the dog. First I discuss the way different assumptions about the relationship between technology on the one hand and society on the other underscores deliberations further upstream. The second section looks at how these ideas resonate in popular science fiction; a literary and entertainment genre that provides a productive filter through which to look at ongoing and emerging debates about the Internet and society. The third section returns to live issues; where the Internet, as part of the latest generation of new media has become a focal point for political and social mobilization. With these reflections I hope to trigger some alternative ways to start thinking futures. My goal is to show that while there are many unarticulated scenarios to consider and prepare for, others are available in fictional form. Many others are already in the making; revolutions and counter-revolutions are being digitized as we browse, click, or twee

Topics: L200, L430, N120, P300
Publisher: Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.gold.ac.uk:6065
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