Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Truth, Magic, and the Internet

"The BlackBerry incorporates both e-mail and an addictive mechanism. That mechanism is the click-reward system that works with slot machines and pigeon feeders. It's highly addictive to humans. This is exacerbated by its ritualistic nature -- and ritualism is often found with addictions. I have never known a BlackBerry user who has not pulled out the device numerous times in my presence, almost like a cigarette smoker fiddling with a pack."

I'm reminded of Rudy Rucker's recent trip to Europe. His laptop had died, and he confessed to making the journey feeling like he was missing a part of his brain. This is because, like it or not, electronic devices have become extensions of our nervous system, filling largely subliminal needs. Revealingly, we have yet to develop a mature vocabulary for the Internet; online mavens continue to write about the Web as if it's some magical parallel universe.

Exotic-sounding neologisms from the hacker/gaming counterculture have become commonplace; the Web is home to countless "daemons" and "avatars." But despite our casual relationship with them, they're still limited to an abstracted existence between the wires.

We might expect them to become more palpable in the not-so-distant future. Soon, in a reversal of our daily pilgrimages to "cyberspace," our mind children will make the evolutionary transition to "meatspace," clad in increasingly agile robotic bodies. The Internet is the new primordial soup.

3 comments:

Cap'n Marrrrk said...

Yes, I've seen it too. I went to another agency one day to borrow some images and I ran into a Suit I used to work with. I was told that a lot of suits for The Big Client, have Blackberries and that they talk to you while simultaenously fiddle with the device. Sure enough, this guy looked like a junky getting his fix: twitching, looking through me, listening with half an ear. It was almost like me at my workstation but without the big screeen.

magnidude said...

"His laptop had died, and he confessed to making the journey feeling like he was missing a part of his brain."

This is definitely the case. I felt similarly when my graphic card broke down. As if I got smth amputated. Brrr.. never again :)

JEFM said...

We used to call it "Crack-berry" at the Psychology faculty. All the patterns of addiction where present there ... scary.

Jon