The coming war on general computation

The coming war on general computation
Cory Doctorow: The coming war on general computation
The copyright war was just the beginning

The last 20 years of Internet policy have been dominated by the copyright war, but the war turns out only to have been a skirmish. The coming century will be dominated by war against the general purpose computer, and the stakes are the freedom, fortune and privacy of the entire human race.

The problem is twofold: first, there is no known general-purpose computer that can execute all the programs we can think of except the naughty ones; second, general-purpose computers have replaced every other device in our world. There are no airplanes, only computers that fly. There are no cars, only computers we sit in. There are no hearing aids, only computers we put in our ears. There are no 3D printers, only computers that drive peripherals. There are no radios, only computers with fast ADCs and DACs and phased-array antennas. Consequently anything you do to "secure" anything with a computer in it ends up undermining the capabilities and security of every other corner of modern human society.



A problem is reported and I present a solution.
Doctorow says that my solution is flawed.
So I ask him for an alternative solution to the problem.
He has none. But he knows that any attempt to solve this perceived problem will fail.
Fine, I say. We're moving ahead with my plan.

the problem with everything is that we have computers where computers don't belong. my car without a computer gets 38mpg, but with a computer gets 40mpg. or, arguably, would get 55mpg because the computer keeps me from manually adjusting the engine.

but there are no computers in books... unless the ink absorbs light to power a computer chip hidden in the spine that monitors my reading and location and everything... damn, that's probably possible. where is Cory on this issue???

In fact, several of the statements in his list of universals are wrong or arguably wrong--there are still tens of thousands of cars on the roads that contain no computers, I'd guess millions of radios that are not computers, etc. "Have replaced every other device in our world" is just Doctorow being Doctorow, not recognizing that false universalism weakens the good point he's trying to make. (Maybe "our" world doesn't include books...otherwise, yes, more than a billion negations of his nonsense just last year...) (Not that any other high-profile gurus indulge in false universalisms and "everyone is just like me" thinking....except, well, pretty much all of them.)

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