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Ed Webb

The Vulture Transcript: Sci-Fi Author William Gibson on Why He Loves Twitter, Thinks Fa... - 0 views

  • If you’re born now, your native culture is global, to an increasing extent. There are things that are unknowable for futurists of any stripe, be they science-fiction writing charlatans like myself or anthropologists in the employ of large automobile companies who are paid to figure out what people might want in ten years. One of the things that’s unknowable is how humanity will use any new technology.

    No one imagines that we’d wind up with a world that looks like this on the basis of the technology that’s emerged in the last hundred years. Emergent technology is the most powerful single driver of change in the world, and it has been forever. Technology trumps politics. Technology trumps religion. It just does. And that’s why we are where we are now. It seems so self-evident to me that I can never go to that Technology: threat or menace? position. Okay, well, if we don’t do this, what are we going to do? This is not only what we do, it’s literally who we are as a species. We’ve become something other than what our ancestors were.

    I’m sitting here at age 52 with almost all of my own teeth. That didn’t used to happen. I’m a cyborg. I’m immune to any number of lethal diseases by virtue of technology. I’m sitting on top of this enormous pyramid of technology that starts with flint hand-axes and finds me in a hotel in Austin, Texas, talking to someone thousands of miles away on a telephone and that’s just what we do. At this point, we don’t have the option of not being technological creatures.

  • You’ve taken to Twitter (GreatDismal).
    I have indeed. I’ve taken to Twitter like a duck to water. Its simplicity allows the user to customize the experience with relatively little input from the Twitter entity itself. I hope they keep it simple. It works because it’s simple. I was never interested in Facebook or MySpace because the environment seemed too top-down mediated. They feel like malls to me. But Twitter actually feels like the street. You can bump into anybody on Twitter.
  • Twitter’s huge. There’s a whole culture of people on Twitter who do nothing but handicap racehorses. I’ll never go there. One commonality about people I follow is that they’re all doing what I’m doing: They’re all using it as novelty aggregation and out of that grows some sense of being part of a community. It’s a strange thing. There are countless millions of communities on Twitter. They occupy the same virtual space but they never see each other. They never interact. Really, the Twitter I’m always raving about is my Twitter.
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  • The Civil War was scarcely more than 150 years ago. It’s yesterday. Race in American hasn’t been sorted out. This used to be a country that was run exclusively by white guys in suits. It’s not going to be a country that’s run exclusively by white guys in suits, and that doesn’t have anything to do with politics, it’s just demographics. That makes some people very uncomfortable. The tea party is like the GOP’s Southern strategy coming back to exact the real cost of that strategy.
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