My favorite ice cream comes from ~cow
October 13, 2014 3:31 AM   Subscribe

A day in the life, imagined 50 years from now, by ftrain: "It’s interesting when you scan old history scrolls to learn just how panicked everyone was about total global micro-surveillance. They just didn’t see it as a means of liberation, like we do now. Of course they lived in the era of giant government-run spying computers like Multivac. No one could imagine the upside of having every human interaction observed by penny sensors at all times. I’m glad to live in a world where a young woman can hop into a self-driving car with a total stranger and not feel a bit of concern."

Previously by ftrain: The Web is a Customer Service Medium, as discussed on the grey.
posted by Wordshore (111 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
For some reason I keep coming back to:

"According to his bio, he created an app that matched people to cats that fit their personal profile."

...and thinking, there's something in this.
posted by Wordshore at 3:42 AM on October 13, 2014 [14 favorites]


Just think of the all the personal and societal issues that can have an early diagnosis and prevention when the big data computers have every detail of everyone's sexual performance to analyse.
posted by sammyo at 3:44 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses Big Data Networks and their army of managers 3-D Printers and Self-Driving Cars control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.

Huxley's Brave New World continues to a better cautionary tale that Orwell's 1984.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:45 AM on October 13, 2014 [22 favorites]


This article is a part of GE’s “What’s Next” collection that gathers perspectives from the makers of tomorrow. Do
you have a vision for the future? Tweet @generalelectric for the opportunity to collaborate on “What’s Next.”


Yeah I was going to comment on the starry-eyed optimism, but that final note has me covered. Since I am not equipped with all-monitoring sensors tracking my callory intake and mass balance yet, please note I'm going to be busy for the next few minutes.
posted by Dr Dracator at 3:46 AM on October 13, 2014


Good piece. As a more optimistic person, it was refreshing to read.
posted by Argyle at 3:51 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


There is a low boop noise and upon my windshield there is projected a picture of a young woman. It tells me her name is Susan Calvin. She looks attractive to me and I can see at a glance that we share a number of interests in history, technology, and graphic design ... She comes out and the car door opens. She hops in.

Hello, Susan, nice to share a ride with you.

Nice to meet you, Hari.


I was not expecting this to turn into Asimov fic.
posted by Spatch at 3:58 AM on October 13, 2014 [30 favorites]


Huxley's Brave New World continues to a better cautionary tale that Orwell's 1984.
--Doktor Zed

Huxley, Orwell and Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale should be read together as inclusively insightful.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 4:07 AM on October 13, 2014 [23 favorites]


The benign panopticon in the lead to this post reminded me of this article in Foreign Policy about how Singapore's investments into surveillance and Big Data analysis may have, as part of their motivation, a desire for totalitarian control. However a large part of the public benefit is also enforcing racial harmony by using the surveillance mechanisms to flag and profile people who post inciteful or hateful messages on social fora or public comments.

I think if we are ever going to arrive at a future where we have wholesale traded participatory democracy away in exchange for some form of populist technocracy, it will be Singapore that will have convinced us that individual human voices are small, worthless, and messy when compared to the sublime wisdom of the Great Machine Intelligence and its caretaker caste of geniuses.
posted by bl1nk at 4:12 AM on October 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


A lot of this felt very much like some odd blend of Minority Report and the Total Recall remake, minus all the shooting. Throw in the Larry Niven short story where humans are just too damn lucky to get seriously hurt any more, and you have this rosy-glasses soft-glow picture of a happy-happy world.

That said, I can see a fair amount of this happening, a tiny bit at a time.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 4:17 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


That said, I can see a fair amount of this happening, a tiny bit at a time.

The slowly-boiled frog method?
posted by Thorzdad at 4:26 AM on October 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


One machine picks the fabrics, one dyes them, one sews, one finishes. It takes a few minutes and twenty other pieces of clothing are made at the same time.

This bit seems likely to be incorrect. Last week I was visiting a lab with the fanciest 3d printers you can get right now (like, hundreds of thousands of dollars each), and they can print stuff made from tiny links of plastic, like miniature chain mail, that is pretty indistinguishable from fabric to my touch. It is softish and drapes, and you could conceivably sew it into clothes, Although you wouldn't need to, since you could just print the shapes you need as a single piece (well, up to a certain size).

You don't have to dye it as you can print it in the colours you want. The stuff they are making right now would not be very nice to wear and apparently it melts at hot summer temperatures if you leave it somewhere like a car... But in 50 years I find it unlikely that we will have abandoned this route for selecting fabric, dying and sewing.
posted by lollusc at 4:26 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Looks like the future is going to be pretty awesome if you're a self-satisfied middle-class dude or dudette!
posted by um at 4:27 AM on October 13, 2014 [20 favorites]


I was promised meathooks where are my meathooks
posted by um at 4:32 AM on October 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


All this starry-eyed optimism implies an equitable economic outlook, overseen by a benign plutocracy. I think there's going to be a lot of disappointed people in the future.
posted by nerdler at 4:35 AM on October 13, 2014 [17 favorites]


Seconding that, nerdler. I wanted to see what life was like for people who were less affluent.

I saw The Hunger Games last night too, so I'm envisioning something like that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:37 AM on October 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


There is no benign panopticon any more than there is a benign capitalism. Anything that can be turned against the public for the benefit of the elite will be.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:49 AM on October 13, 2014 [20 favorites]


I'm reassured to think that no technological advances will be able to erase the spiritual and emotional hollowness of materially sated middle-class life. This poor guy's inner world is even more sparsely decorated than his apartment. At least a stone is solid all the way through.
posted by informavore at 5:07 AM on October 13, 2014 [14 favorites]


Wait, this was a piece of optimism? Going to a party where everyone shares my interests sounds like a distressingly sprawling dystopia to me.
posted by specialbrew at 5:17 AM on October 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


Seating made simple!
posted by Poldo at 5:23 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


There is no benign panopticon any more than there is a benign capitalism. Anything that can be turned against the public for the benefit of the elite will be.
Right, but in the same way that people have embraced capitalism because it's afforded them the ability to buy pretty iPads and imported artisanal coffee while also abstracting away the environmental and social cost of mineral and human labor exploitation, then some people will embrace benign surveillance if it affords them future world without hate crimes or traffic jams, and abstracts away the lost opportunities that were once provided by having control over one's own future.

If we could guarantee you a world without misogyny or racism in exchange for you surrendering the privacy of all of your communications, then you must be some kind of monster to allow someone to be raped just so that you can write some email without it being monitored. What are you trying to hide? Are you some kind of pervert? *

People have always been more than happy to surrender some privacy in their lives in exchange for a little prosperity or service, and especially if that sacrifice seems trivial by comparison. People will happily let their phone tell the Global Machine Intelligence where they are all the time, and will slavishly obey the orders of The Intelligence if it means that they can shave five minutes off their commute.

* nb -- tongue firmly in cheek, but I absolutely believe that some people will try to pitch a way of wrapping up the acceptance of social surveillance in the harmonious cloak of racial and gender tolerance, and thereby either gain additional traction in having us accept the panopticon or create fractures in social movements between those who are unwilling to sacrifice privacy and those who think that it's a small price for a world without harassment
posted by bl1nk at 5:24 AM on October 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


Susan’s diet trackers tell her she can enjoy ice cream as long as she swims for 20 minutes later, so she has a small cone, custom-made to the exactly quantities communicated by her tracker to the ice-cream maker.

Had Susan instead ordered a medium cone, or swam for only 15 minutes, her trackers would have immediately reported to Health4Life, LLC, and her health coverage will have been escalated into the "high-risk" category, resulting in the automatic monthly debit from her income being raised 10%. Her employer will also be notified that Susan is now to be considered an at-risk-for-low-productivity hire due to her unhealthy habits.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:26 AM on October 13, 2014 [65 favorites]


Optimism is just a refusal to face reality. They made predictions with this kind of rosy glow 50 years ago, too. Those didn't pan out, either.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 5:27 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, seriously, I'd like to take a list of everybody who thinks a benign panopticon is a good idea and compare it to a list of everybody who spent the Bush years endlessly reposting that Ben Franklin quote about liberty and security.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:27 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


If you want, you can request ice cream by the name of your cow.

If we have ice cream still coming from cows 50 years from now, you can ignore everything else in this article, for the planet is fucked.
posted by sutt at 5:29 AM on October 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


They made predictions with this kind of rosy glow 50 years ago, too. Those didn't pan out, either.

Actually, fusion is much more of a blue glow than an rosy one.
posted by eriko at 5:29 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


What's the other option? Like that absurd TV show "Revolution" where they "turn off" electricity? Tech is in it's infancy, 300 books in my kindle today, in 10 years will we have to dial number or click a tweet to communicate, or just whisper a comment and the person or 50,000 people that should receive that comment get it at the optimum queued moment.

We need to evolve into the true extropians we deserve to be!

be one with the google
posted by sammyo at 5:41 AM on October 13, 2014


Huh, this is the dude who did tilde.club isn't it? Not sure I have any interesting connection to make about that, just..."huh."
posted by dubitable at 5:53 AM on October 13, 2014


Apparently, 50 years ago, squirrels used to fear roads. It was bred out of them. Now they just step right out.

Squirrels right now don't fear roads and step right out. That's why I see flat squirrels all over town.

When it is time to be milked they all get a little milking buzz in their ears and they line up to be milked.

I worked on a dairy farm once. Those cows lined up to be milked on their own, no bots needed.

Animals aside, it's funny how a lot of utopian writing is super dystopian when you look closely (plus all this future tech and yet the poor women are still having to diet and eat tiny ice cream cones while the dudes eat an XL one and lounge after). I would kill for a network of self-driving cars, but living in a panopticon is going to have a lot more implications than just helping you hook up with hotties, and it would have been nice if the story had made more than the tiniest gesture in that direction.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:53 AM on October 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


I mean, I almost want to believe this is a subtle satire. It's just so freaking bland, and it's almost screaming out all the things that it's ignoring by ignoring them and presenting us with such a bland vision of the future. I also kind of think that Paul Ford is not that vacuous based on other stuff of his I've read. I think there's gotta be something else going on here.
posted by dubitable at 5:55 AM on October 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


I mean, look, he tweets stuff like this. I think he's being sneaky.

Then again, he did also tweet this, so maybe he is a silly idealist
posted by dubitable at 5:57 AM on October 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Looks like the future is going to be pretty awesome if you're a self-satisfied middle-class dude or dudette!

I think the hope is that, ideally at least, in the future robotic production and greater availability of resources due to more intelligent production (e.g. lab grown meat) will mean that everyone is middle-class in a post-scarcity economics, minimum guaranteed income kind of way. The self-satisfaction is up to you.

Of course, that's about as unlikely to happen in the future as it is right this very moment, but this is a work of fiction anyway, so why not dream big?
posted by Itaxpica at 5:58 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


The car delivery network was kind of neat and the idea that no one needs to have their own car anymore is great. Combining the two might keep Amazon's drones from blotting out the sun.
posted by arcticseal at 6:05 AM on October 13, 2014


One UN report predicts a global population of roughly 9 billion for the date this piece is set in.
posted by Wordshore at 6:08 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


homunculus pointed out a Boston Globe article which claims that some of the best intelligence work today is being done by hobbyists who watch and correlate the public social network activity and other online activity of extremists, their families, and others.

A possible reason for the bland guileless optimism of the article in the OP:
This article is a part of GE’s “What’s Next” collection that gathers perspectives from the makers of tomorrow.
posted by XMLicious at 6:08 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Optimism is just a refusal to face reality. They made predictions with this kind of rosy glow 50 years ago, too. Those didn't pan out, either.

I completely disagree.

* Rights for women, minorities, and LGBT are much more widely recognized.
* Advances in communication are allow the flow of information and ideas to all corners of the globe.
* You have most of the world's information available to you on the phone in your pocket.
* You can be in contact with friends and family at any time, anywhere in the world.
* Advances in drugs make many life threatening diseases, completely manageable.
* Doctors can literally repair eyes so that those with myopia or cataracts can see clearly.
* More people live under democracy than ever before.
* Good quality food and water is available to more people than ever in human history.

I could go on.

Yes, the there are plenty of terrible things happening in the world, but the world overall is in a far, far better place than 50 years ago. It's not evenly distributed, but we inexorably move forward.

Then again, I'm saying this on MeFi, ground zero for existentialist angst.
posted by Argyle at 6:11 AM on October 13, 2014 [33 favorites]


but the world overall is in a far, far better place than 50 years ago. It's not evenly distributed, but we inexorably move forward.

The "world" is better, the planet is certainly not.
posted by sutt at 6:16 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


If we have ice cream still coming from cows 50 years from now...

To be honest, that's probably a Koww™
posted by Thorzdad at 6:17 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


As great as this suburban car-topia sounds, I'd much prefer reliable, ubiquitous public transportation.
posted by evil otto at 6:17 AM on October 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Well I for one welcome our new omniscient, totalitarian overlords.
posted by walrus at 6:18 AM on October 13, 2014


STILL no tinfoil jumpsuits?
posted by briank at 6:20 AM on October 13, 2014


Huxley, Orwell and Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale should be read together as inclusively insightful.

I would add Jennifer Government to that short list. Seriously.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:23 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


The two biggest improvements in the article (the 4 hour workday and women not being afraid) do not require technology. They're things we have the technology for now. Our problems in these areas persist because they are cultural, not technological.

Put differently, I don't want to live in the kind of culture where the "total global micro-surveillance" is necessary for people to feel safe.
posted by yeolcoatl at 6:29 AM on October 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


Also, how do poor people fit into this future? The guy who works at SweetLine, what's his life like? Or is this like Star Trek where we have infinite resources and nobody's poor?
posted by evil otto at 6:30 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


This future is like my hell. I lost my optimism at the ice cream cone being tied to the diet tracker.
posted by corb at 6:34 AM on October 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


I can't believe nobody has mentioned yet that David Brin has been writing about the benign future panopticon since roughly 1985.
posted by localroger at 6:37 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I would add Jennifer Government to that short list. Seriously.

And Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story.
posted by aught at 6:39 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


subtle satire

Given the source, that's my take.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 6:41 AM on October 13, 2014


Ugh I was reading this in bed while half awake, and somehow my takeaway was that the "collaborative writing" inline feedback on every paragraph on Medium was part of the future prediction, like they were going to replace regular comment sections on news sites, blogs, long-form fiction...

It was the best of times, //Was it really? I'm not sure I can agree, I'm fairly certain there have been better times
It was the worst of times //How was it best AND worst? This is a contradictory statement, maybe rethink this?

Apple Unveils iPhone 12 //Hello I Purchase Apple Phone on June 16 I Can't Get My Email? Pls ? Can You Tell Me What To Do Settings.

Unrelated: I hope in the future they can do some gene therapy nanomachine thing to restart lactase production in adults, because the pills don't work well enough and I want some goddamn ice cream

please science
posted by jake at 6:45 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yes, the there are plenty of terrible things happening in the world, but the world overall is in a far, far better place than 50 years ago.

Yet it is still far short of the rosy predictions that were made. By contrast, the "big dreams" on display here aren't even all that big.

It's not evenly distributed, but we inexorably move forward.

And here we have a brushing aside of one of the actual great problems of the age--and a way in which our world is significantly worse than that of 50 years ago--and bland optimism at odds with the actual trends of our time, i.e. a refusal to face reality.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:46 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


subtle satire

Given the source, that's my take.


Would be great, but you would think someone familiar enough with tech and tech writing of the day to do this would also be familiar with Poe's Law and realize that only a fraction of those likely to see the work would be familiar enough with the source to mark it for satire on those grounds.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:49 AM on October 13, 2014


One thing that The Diamond Age did so well was present a future where miraculous technology was at the hands of everyone--even the poorest. Yet despite it being an era where basic needs could be produced at low cost for all at any time (public Matter Compilers), there persisted a large impoverished underclass, discontent, unrest, and street crime.
posted by sourwookie at 6:51 AM on October 13, 2014 [12 favorites]


Yes, the there are plenty of terrible things happening in the world, but the world overall is in a far, far better place than 50 years ago. It's not evenly distributed, but we inexorably move forward.

But how many of the improvements you cite where predicted by techno-futurists of the 1950s? My impression is they were hoping for flying cars, personal space travel and meals in pill form - not improvements in women's rights, democracy and broader access to healthy food.
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:56 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I can't believe nobody has mentioned yet that David Brin has been writing about the benign future panopticon since roughly 1985.
posted by localroger


I have been schlepping that Dec 1996 issue of Wired around with me for almost 20 year because of that article (and the Stephenson one).
posted by sourwookie at 6:59 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


you would think someone familiar enough with tech and tech writing of the day to do this would also be familiar with Poe's Law

You're hardly going to slip your dystopic vision of a corporatised car-centred iFuture into a sponsored series by the leviathan GE if you hit people over the head with the satire mallet.
posted by forgetful snow at 7:11 AM on October 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


so

like

did agriculture-wrecking city-destroying climate change just disappear in this future?

or did tech investors and the free market solve that problem?
posted by erlking at 7:18 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Why did William Gibson have to be the one who was right about where we're headed?

At least some of us might get to be bad-asses operating in the fringes of the machinations of the various mega-corporation-governments that rule the world.

Also, vinyl trench coats.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:33 AM on October 13, 2014


Then again, I'm saying this on MeFi, ground zero for existentialist angst.

After reading the comments on here, ftrain writes a sequel where the narrator and Susan have a second date over a massive plate of beans, return to the lake to find that it was the last water in America and is now empty, shrug and "meh", retire to a hotel where they have ecstatic technology-enhanced sex for nine hours straight, relax afterwards by chuckling together over archived online comments from 2014 ("OMG this website from 50 years ago looks soooo 70 years ago"), do one final update of their tilde.club pages, then hotwire the car, crash a political rally, throw the stone at POTUS Rand Paul III, and drive off a cliff while being chased by drones a la Thelma and Louise.
posted by Wordshore at 7:35 AM on October 13, 2014 [11 favorites]


I thought David Bring has been writing about the inevitable panopticon and trying to make an argument for transparency being the only possible way to avoid total dystopia?
posted by Wretch729 at 7:40 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I saw The Hunger Games last night too, so I'm envisioning something like that.

Honestly I think THG (apart from the kids in gladiatorial combat, and lbr, somewhere a reality TV producer has seen the movies and thought "heyyy....") is exactly where Western society is careening to. Tiny wealthy elite with magic technology, focused on style over substance, with totalitarian police forces to keep the poors in line.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:07 AM on October 13, 2014


Tiny wealthy elite with magic technology, focused on style over substance, with totalitarian police forces to keep the poors in line.

That differs from current reality how?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:57 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


As much as Marshall Brain's Manna is not great writing, it does get the dystopian half of things painfully spot-on. This magical future of working computer vision and halfway-there AI, combined with greater automation, largely does not need the average human.

The corporations (and here's where I will shill for Jennifer Government as well) which own most of the assets will reason, "Sure, I could give stuff away, but why?" They own the mines, they own the robots, they own the IP.

Rich people don't want to look at poor people, aside from the odd bumfight. They'd rather not even think about Teh Poorz existing. Grubby, unwashed, tragically unhip. Always wanting things, inconveniently.

Who is desirable in this society? People who already have money. Corporate lawyers. Computer programmers and engineers as the Morlocks. A few disposable entertainers, largely bred for their looks and propensity towards using wisdom as a dump stat over charisma. We won't even need totalitarian police forces once the drone assembly lines really kick off, and they can be staffed by videogaming kids — who could hardly be more unaccountable than our current police — playing "Taze the Jaywalker" as a replacement for Call of Duty.

The touted remedy is sousveillance, but I have some pretty strong doubts. The United States government is only too happy to pull the string on a doll which blurts out "TOP SECRET!" to dismiss undesirable lawsuits. I doubt we're going to see an equitable exchange of watchful eyes any time soon.
posted by adipocere at 8:57 AM on October 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


I read "A day in the life" and immediately sang "My favorite ice cream comes from cow" to the melody of the first line of the Beatle's song. Imagine my disappointment when no other lyrics were forthcoming.
posted by TDavis at 9:05 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


That differs from current reality how?

Fair point. I guess I mean we're careening towards the cartoonish extreme; the universe of THG doesn't have a middle class of consumers; there's ultra-wealthy parasites and drones, nothing in between. For now, there's still some in-between in the Western world--though I'll grant that on a global scale it's drones and parasites.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:17 AM on October 13, 2014


However a large part of the public benefit is also enforcing racial harmony by using the surveillance mechanisms to flag and profile people who post inciteful or hateful messages on social fora or public comments.

Add opposed to the wonderful anarchy we have on the West, where social norms are enforced by members of Reddit and 4Chan, who deal with women who have the temerity to be on the public internet with attacks ranging from death and rape threats, to doxxing and stealing of private information. And anonymity means they can do whatever they want with impunity.

So yeah, go ahead and tell us all again- what's the advantage of the current system?
posted by happyroach at 9:46 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Fair point. I guess I mean we're careening towards the cartoonish extreme; the universe of THG doesn't have a middle class of consumers; there's ultra-wealthy parasites and drones, nothing in between.

So North Korea is the future?
posted by Apocryphon at 10:00 AM on October 13, 2014


Why did William Gibson have to be the one who was right about where we're headed?

William Gibson was right about where we are. Peter Watts is the guy who's right about where we're going.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:02 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Optimism? Those sentences are way to short to portray optimism.

"I’m not quite sure what she thinks of me. She’s with some friends. She gives me a hug goodbye. My car pulls up on the gravel path outside."

Longer sentences linking multiple ideas, opinions and emotions of the main character would mean that this person is aware of many things and is weighing them against each other and basically trying to navigate life. The "I’m not quite sure what she thinks of me." line dead-ends right there. It's worse than a switch that says "I no longer care to pursue that line of thought." because the character doesn't see the switch any longer.

If I have a controlled form of Attention Deficit Disorder, I can be led from one shiny to another shiny and not ever get the brainpower up to ask relevant questions about anything. Like how "the computer" knows everything about what you like and what you look like and who you might like to date and what you like to do and how you should keep yourself healthy. And with the distractions, you'll never question why and where the material comes from to make all of this and what powers the cars. Control is easiest when your subjects are kept in an infantile state, as the section headers suggest. And really, the whole game's given away in these two lines, "It’s interesting when you scan old history scrolls to learn just how panicked everyone was about total global micro-surveillance. They just didn’t see it as a means of liberation, like we do now."
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:08 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Fair point. I guess I mean we're careening towards the cartoonish extreme; the universe of THG doesn't have a middle class of consumers; there's ultra-wealthy parasites and drones, nothing in between.

That we see. My presumption was always that there were middle class workers in the lower-numbered districts but they were more or less irrelevant, mere pawns of the aristrocracy. So yeah, like today.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:18 AM on October 13, 2014


Happyroach -- you seem to have forgotten or skimmed past the first half of my comment where I indicated that the panopticon in question was in Singapore (and I assume that you didn't RTFA on my link either)

I think you can probably find misogynistic trolls coming out of .SG, because most of singapore's efforts is aimed at race harmony rather than gender equality, but a large element of the article was how Singapore uses their surveillance to police sedition AND hate speech, and comes down super hard on anyone race baiting against the Chinese, Malay, and Indian ethnic communities. And it uses this power to buy compliance from the citizenry on more intrusive means of data collection all in the name of public order.

Does that satisfy your request? To be clear the current regime that exists in the US visibly lacks this censorship and enforcement, which enables the trollscape that you decry. Would you support further NSA surveillance and data mining if it meant arresting misogynists and racists?
posted by bl1nk at 10:28 AM on October 13, 2014


The biggest hurdle remains try to get away from a society optimized for and gamed by sociopaths and people for whom it's not enough they're on top, but other people need to be below.
posted by The Whelk at 10:31 AM on October 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


Good to know that in the brave new world of 2064, women are still expected to "justify" the food they eat for their own enjoyment and pleasure. Yay progress!
posted by DarlingBri at 10:33 AM on October 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


It also should be noted that just because the current dictator is benevolent, doesn't mean the next one will be.
posted by kokaku at 10:38 AM on October 13, 2014


My impression is they were hoping for flying cars, personal space travel and meals in pill form - not improvements in women's rights, democracy and broader access to healthy food.

Asimov, in 1964, predicts what 2014 will look like.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:39 AM on October 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


A few miles away, a strategically-placed assembly line (about three times the size of the one used to make the ice cream at Sweetline) gears up and sews me a pair of trunks. For Susan, it makes a one-piece in the same colors. One machine picks the fabrics, one dyes them, one sews, one finishes. It takes a few minutes and twenty other pieces of clothing are made at the same time.

Now comes the baton toss: A self-driving shuttle car takes our clothes, and the other articles of clothing, out to the highway. It enters traffic (on the windshield we see a map and dots) and begins to go from car to car, extending a tube and shooting articles into the car’s trunk. Then that car will drive for a bit and hand off various articles — clothes, groceries, baked goods, and the like — to other cars.

In my opinion, CarNet is one of the greatest accomplishments of human civilization, the way moving cars deliver items from one to another until they reach their destination — typically another moving car.


This cannot meant to be taken seriously. First off, why order the trunks from the factory if you can have a portable 3D printer? Second, what is this Futurama pneumatic tubes nonsense doing on the highway? Delivery drones is far more practical and economical.

The story is completely a gee-whiz Asimov-type Pollyanna future, with The Truman Show-style darker overtones. It's got to be tongue-in-cheek, and a way to subvert GE's little corporate brainstorming sesh.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:00 AM on October 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Asimov, in 1964, predicts what 2014 will look like.

Quick rundown of predictions, commentary my own:
  • Underground housing, with electroluminescent wall panels and variable polarization windows: Way off base
  • Kitchen robots preparing complete lunches to order from semiprepared frozen food: Way off base
  • Limited use of robots, great progress and miniaturization of computers: Spot on
  • Household appliances powered by long-life radioistope batteries: Way off base
  • Widesperad adoption of fission power. Experimental fusion, large scale and space-based solar: Partial success
  • Widesperad use of air-jet hovercrafts: Way off base
  • Self-driving vehicles: Partial success
  • Moving sidewalks, centralized logistics with last-mile pneumatic delivery: Way off base
  • Videophones, the internet, global communication coverage: Spot on
  • Lunar colonies, communication via modulated laser: Way off base
  • Unmanned Mars missions, manned mission in the works: Spot on
  • Flatscreen TV, life-size 3D TV rotatable cube: Partial success
  • Global population of 6.5 billion, US population of 350 million : Spot on
  • Colonization of the continental shelves, underwater housing: Way off base
  • Farming of yeast and algae for food, "mock-turkey" and "pseudosteak": Way off base
  • Increase in global inequality: Spot on
  • Medical improvements such as artificial hearts and kidneys increase life expectancy: Spot on
  • Worldwide propaganda in favor of birth control: Partial success (?)
  • Reduction of manual labor in favor of "machine tenders" : Spot on
  • Fundamentals of programming and high-level languages part of school curriculum: Spot on
  • Increase in global boredom, creatives become the new elite: Partial success
On the technological front, medicine, computers and communication are the big hits. On the social issues, it seems most of the grim ones are coming true.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:56 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


A penopticon that tells me exactly how much I'm allowed to eat, gives me only that much food, and then requires I "work it off" in a prescribed way for a prescribed amount of time, I guess so as to maintain my body in a state of max desirability? And that flashes photos of me at public transpo riders to make sure I'm attractive and "compatible" enough for them to allow me to ride in their same car? OMG hellscape.

What if whatsername hadn't been attractive enough to the rider, or he'd decided not to overlook that she's a cat person or whatever, would she have just been SOL and had to find another car? Would she have just been stuck there waiting until someone thought she was bangable enough to share the ride? Really uncivilized, frankly.

Also, these people clearly don't have parents and should never have children because they are fine grabbing ice cream and then going swimming right after. YOU ARE GOING TO GET A CRAMP AND DROWN, FOOLS. So this future is apparently even more of a dystopia than it seems.

On the upside, seems like people going into waste management would have really bright futures.
posted by rue72 at 12:05 PM on October 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


Farming of yeast and algae for food, "mock-turkey" and "pseudosteak": Way off base

Um...

Partial credit, I think.
posted by howfar at 1:38 PM on October 13, 2014


> Farming of yeast and algae for food, "mock-turkey" and "pseudosteak": Way off base

Um...Partial credit, I think.


More than partial, I'd say.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:48 PM on October 13, 2014


Would you support further NSA surveillance and data mining if it meant arresting misogynists and racists?

Would I support it if my friends could go online without worrying every time whether they're going to be subjected to harassment and threats by anonymous mysogynists? Or if they were, they could actually take legal action?

Honestly, maybe.

What do you suggest instead? What solution do you propose? Because at this point, the internet is going to lose functionality for over half the population. And if my friends can't use it, why should they care if some white males are worried about surveilance?
posted by happyroach at 1:59 PM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Huxley, Orwell and Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale should be read together as inclusively insightful.

I did that one summer somewhere in my mid-to-late teens. I'm still not completely okay.
posted by spacewaitress at 2:08 PM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am glad that in this piece, there seems to be an absence of gamification; the only badge seems to be the metaphorical stone.

On the other hand, the optimisation of the food seems a bit - restrictive. Is there no place in a future America for delicious evolving midwest cuisine?
posted by Wordshore at 3:11 PM on October 13, 2014


hey, so not to make light of the problem of online misogynistic trolling, which I agree is a serious problem -- but your position is broadly similar to all of the arguments that we were given 13 years ago when multiple governments argued for wider surveillance in the name of fighting terrorism.

People that we should care about are threatened. We need to give up privacy in order to protect those people. Only the bad guys will be hurt. We promise.

Those are lies.

Much in the same way that this future where a woman feels ok getting into a car with a complete stranger because Technology Will Keep Her Safe is a lie.

What are my alternatives? There are multiple, ranging from supporting legislation to have doxxing criminalized as an invasion of privacy, to have death and rape threats be classified as hate crimes, and let fake tweets be treated as libel. Treat online personally identifiable data to warrant the same protection standard as medical records. Advocate for and support social platforms that offer robust privacy, security, and user filtering tools. Continue the dialogue with everyone. The visibility of this toxicity in our culture is higher than its ever been, especially with the recent multi-pronged wave of excellent writing from the likes of Anita Sarkeesian, Kathy Sierra, Zoe Quinn, or articles like The Unsafety Net combined with the YesAllWomen meme in the wake of Eliot Rodgers, and the slow, gradual awakening of a silent majority of men who realize that we need to police and fix ourselves.

These are just a few ideas that we need to try before we surrender our privacy. It's not time to do that yet, and I hope it never will be.
posted by bl1nk at 3:22 PM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Honestly, eventually enough people will just need to change. Culture needs to change, society needs to police itself not through actual legislation, but through mores. And this doesn't just apply to online harassment, but also other problems we're already cracking down in civil liberties on- terrorism, narcotics. And people certainly can change. It just takes time.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:49 PM on October 13, 2014


Yeah implementing a panopticon to address Internet harassment and trolling is an insane idea and saying they can't "use" the Internet is a bit of a stretch. I've spent entire years lurking the Internet and no one should have to hide and keep to themselves, but suggesting that technological domination by some apparently enlightened and judicious overlords as solution to identity-based harassment begs the question of who will be running the show and who they will want to exterminate or marginalize.

We absolutely do have options between nothing and a total surveillance state, we just prefer to let the oppressors run wild because it's currently seemingly more cost effective.. They want to teach American exceptionalism in history classes now, not the notion of nuanced careful gradients between solving a problem and destroying civilization. Like mixed economies and comprises in certain liberties when they damage the commons. Whee. Democracy should be declared obsolete any day now.
posted by aydeejones at 6:29 PM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


And I would argue that that use of "begs the question" parlays into its original meaning too though I flubbed it
posted by aydeejones at 6:30 PM on October 13, 2014


Like others here, I find this piece is sitting in the uncanny valley of poe's law. I saw that MeFi's Own Joe Clark pointed out the tone.
posted by Monochrome at 6:38 PM on October 13, 2014


Also this strikes me as a sinister oh noes srsly wtf version of those at&t "you will" commercials from the 90s. Not familiar with technology companies hinting at a greater future vision and having a solid execution plan where the commercial is simply dipping your toes into the water to start marinating yourself in the new paradigm, if you will? You will (be).

Also besides the point of what happens to unattractive people (my wife and I thought experimented about the transit idea just this weekend and there was some screening for safety but not future sexy time) is the naive privileged assumption that this hypothetical woman is thrilled that this dude has supporting evidence for hitting on her. She's single right? Get to it
posted by aydeejones at 6:43 PM on October 13, 2014


IN THE BRIGHT AND WONDERFUL FUTURE

not only will social mobility be contingent on being visibly compliant with the hegemonic ideal, but literal mobility, like, getting home from work or whatever, will be, too.
posted by rue72 at 6:49 PM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


If you accept that we (referring to Western liberal democracies) have created structural and institutional systems of oppression and exclusion for certain categories of people (non-male, non-white, non-heterosexual, non-Christian), then it follows that you should be suspicious of their attempts to legislate away or otherwise mitigate the problems of harassment and bullying.

If history is any guide, that legislation or regulation would end up disproportionately penalizing the people it is ostensibly there to protect through means of selective enforcement and biased sentencing, where the selectiveness and the bias always works in favor of the people who are 'on top'. How could it be otherwise, given that the legislative and judicial systems are already made in their image?

Any such legislation, even the most well-meaning, is fatally compromised unless the structures and institutions have reformed. That push to reform is the long and bitter game. My prediction is that we will know it is working when certain laws are overturned, not when they are instituted. But in the end I'm a middle-class white dude - either way my parsnips will not lack for butter.
posted by um at 7:04 PM on October 13, 2014


TFA seems not only bland, but 100% focused on 1st world problems, like finding someone with your same 'interests' to car pool with and being able to throw away your wardrobe every week and getting ice-cream delivery.
posted by signal at 7:14 PM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is the most redolent BS I've read in a very very long time. You read this article and think, "What happened to climate change?" I'd have to believe that the writer simply doesn't believe it's going to happen at all - because look at the attitude expressed in the article:

> The car extends a tube and shoots a package into our trunk, so that’s done. Our swimsuits are here! [...] My swim trunks are wet and I wonder why I didn’t just leave them for the car company to deal with. Then I think for a moment about hanging them up to dry, but it’s going to be Fall soon and I probably won’t go swimming again this season, so why bother? They’ll feel weird hanging up in front of the nice white walls. I throw them in the composter [...]

This is a person who thinks it's totally reasonable to have a car deliver a bathing suit to you for a single use, after which you throw it away rather than bother to hang it up to dry!

We have serious, systemic problems, and unlike the problems we had 50 years ago, there's no evidence that we're going to do anything about them and every evidence that our lords and masters are just going to let us take the bullet and then try to pick up the pieces afterward. No, this isn't any sort of conspiracy theory - no one's getting together to do something, they're all simply not bothering to do anything, particularly since it cuts into today's profits.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:31 PM on October 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Maybe they live in a domed Martian bubble city- specifically, the recently renamed region of Olympus Musk.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:19 PM on October 13, 2014


People that we should care about are threatened. We need to give up privacy in order to protect those people. Only the bad guys will be hurt. We promise.

Those are lies.


"Those are lies"? Are you saying people AREN'T being hurt on a continuing basis?

What are my alternatives? There are multiple, ranging from supporting legislation to have doxxing criminalized as an invasion of privacy, to have death and rape threats be classified as hate crimes, and let fake tweets be treated as libel. Treat online personally identifiable data to warrant the same protection standard as medical records. Advocate for and support social platforms that offer robust privacy, security, and user filtering tools.

Yeah right. "Go to the police." Because the police are SO good at taking harassment of women seriously. The police who said to at least one victim "Well gee, why don't you just stop? (being on the internet)". Count me as rather skeptical.l.

And bear in mind, in order for your scheme to work, we'd actually have to be able to get the real names of the people doing the harassment and also act against the sites that allow those people refuge. We'd have to be able to do serve warrants fast, within days, and even now, every time a legal notice is served to a provider I hear howls of outrage from privacy advocates. So I don't think the people here would approve of any plan where law enforcement has teeth.

And more than that, in order for your methods to have any teeth at all, the laws would have to be set up so that some #gamergate asshole in Australia can't be free to send death threats to a woman in America. Or have a proxy in Australia. These would have to be international laws, enforced by an international agency. The end result would still be something online privacy advocates like yourself would object to.

These are just a few ideas that we need to try before we surrender our privacy. It's not time to do that yet, and I hope it never will be.

It's not that I don't consider privacy valuable, it's just the same system of anonymity that you support makes something like #gamergate untouchable. The current system is plainly not working, so like it or not, the current anarchy is eventually going to end- whether it's due to large-scale moderation or a general collapse is still an open question.
posted by happyroach at 11:08 PM on October 13, 2014


That thing, where you put a post up, then catch up on the comments a while later, see how angry some people have gotten and start to wish you kinda hadn't put the post up in the first place.

Consider taking a walk outside, fellow northern hemisphere people. Daylight hours are contracting, sunshine opportunities getting less, days are getting generally colder. Looking at the sky and the colorful leaves while getting exercise is better for health of mind, and body, than angrily retorting on a keyboard while huddled, indoors, staring at a screen.

And, paradoxically, it'll give you a slightly better chance of actually being around to see who was closest with their future predictions.
posted by Wordshore at 6:51 AM on October 14, 2014


Would you support further NSA surveillance and data mining if it meant arresting misogynists and racists?

Ummmm...Thought-crime? No. People should be free to hold and voice whatever opinions they please, no matter how backward, mean, or reprehensible. It's only when people act against others in harmful or detrimental ways that we need to consider a legal response.

I am not ok with arresting someone simply because they hold an unpopular or hateful opinion. We change those opinions with the application of time and effort.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:57 AM on October 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but sometimes it's the voicing of those opinions that is harmful and detrimental. Speech is an act.
Screaming "Die of AIDS, faggot" is a violent act, for example. Free speech does and should have limits, and some opinions do need to be prevented from being aired, at least in certain ways, because they do cause significant harm.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:05 PM on October 14, 2014


some opinions do need to be prevented from being aired, at least in certain ways, because they do cause significant harm.

I think you're conflating two points in a potentially dangerous way. It appears that you're suggesting that some opinions should be freely expressible in all ways, being inherently benign, while other opinions should be subject to a different standard of expression. Which rather seems to miss the point of freedom of expression in a way that prohibitions against shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre do not.
posted by howfar at 2:22 PM on October 14, 2014


Not in the slightest. We guarantee freedom of expression here too, but we carve out exceptions for hate speech. Which, as someone who has been on the receiving end of hate speech more than once, to the point where I have felt unsafe and intimidated out of exercising my freedoms of association and so forth, I am completely in favour of.

I very much do believe that certain expressions of certain opinions, that is those designed specifically to intimidate and harass, should be held to very different standards. In the same way that walking up to someone on the street and slapping them is held to a very different standard than spanking your partner(s) consensually.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:39 PM on October 14, 2014


The problem with carving out exceptions to the idea of freedom of speech is that the people doing the carving tend to except themselves first, even when some others might find their speech hateful. The entire construction of the 1st Amendment is based on the realization, which was probably very stark for our Founders as they remembered the then-recent religious wars of Protestant vs. Catholic Britain, that nobody can be trusted with that authority.

Screaming "Die of AIDS, faggot" is vile, reprehensible, and needs to be answered immediately, but it is not violence. Yelling "String the $RACIAL_STEREOTYPE up" isn't violence either. It only becomes violence when you put hands (or mechanical, not virtual, equivalent) on a person and cause harm to their physical body. That is the definition of the term.

As satisfying as it might be to muddy those definitions (many of which are, in law, as precise and abstract as computer language) to prevent behavior you don't like, it is not a good idea to do so. Because the next person whose speech is construed to be hateful might very well be you.
posted by localroger at 4:13 PM on October 14, 2014


Localroger: I've had a very interesting conversation on this issue with someone who, as a journalist, is really up on his First Amendment law. And while you are right that "string the [demographic] up" isn't violence, depending on how it is phrased, it is inciting violence, which does fall into illegality.

Yeah, it's a gray area, and there are degrees of "inciting violence", but there are indeed principles for when someone has spoken too far. And I, as someone who embraces the First Amendment, am still very glad those particular boundaries are there - even if all it does is force me to come up with more creative insults in an attempt to not run afoul of the law.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:21 PM on October 14, 2014


while I generally agree with your points, localroger, I think that the math changes slightly in an online world where such communication is getting more pervasive. It's also easy to discount the sort of trauma that comes along with hate speech, especially when it comes from multiple vectors and in sustained fashion.

I mean, like as a simple example, I was riding to work a few weeks ago, and as I manuevered to occupy the lane to make a left turn, a driver behind me honked. I completed my turn and found myself standing next to the driver, who rolled down his window and said, "if you ever do that to me again, I will not brake. I will hit you and run you over."

I felt incensed and despite my better judgement, attempted to engage by calmly informing the driver that I had a right to the road and to make my turn, and that in doing so I had not inconvenienced him in any measurable way. He continued to yell threats at me until our light went green and he drove off in a huff. I let him go.

He did not physically attack or harm me, but the violence of his words lingered with me for the rest of the day, and there is still a wariness and trauma that enters my mind when I approach that intersection. Being insulted is one thing. Being actively threatened with death or physical harm by someone so incensed you believe them capable of the act is another. I know that it will fade with time, and eventually I will simply laugh at it.

But I can't imagine what it's like to have those kinds of threats hurled at my email on a regular basis or continue into my home via harassing phone calls to myself, my family or my friends or business associates.

Yelling a single threat is a moment of anger. A maintained and dedicated campaign of hate that persists long after the blood is cool is another matter all together.

I agree that defining hate speech is a tricky and dangerous path (similar to talking about the importance of privacy vs. the desire to hold people accountable ... I question for myself to this day whether taking a photograph of that driver's license plate would've been helpful) but I think a distinction needs to be made between careless expressions of anger and prejudice, and hate speech as a form of mental violence and abuse.
posted by bl1nk at 4:27 PM on October 14, 2014


Well actually it is violence, and it is violence specifically aimed at intimidating oppressed segments of the population. That makes it something that causes definable harm. And legislating hate speech isn't tricky or dangerous, we've managed to do it here in the benighted North and our country hasn't fallen apart yet.

a distinction needs to be made between careless expressions of anger and prejudice, and hate speech as a form of mental violence and abuse.

Bingo. We legislate against all kinds of other abuse, and speech is no different in that regard. Freedom of expression is important, but it boils down to that old chestnut: your right to swing your fist stops where my face begins. Likewise, your right to free speech stops when it impacts my rights to safety.

If you think my examples are poor, consider cross burnings. They are unambiguously hate speech, and unambiguously performed to terrorize. There is no other purpose behind them. I could also point to something in the past few days here in Toronto; a woman of colour running for city council had one of her billboards defaced with horrible racist bullshit. It's a more or less explicit threat, and the only way to stop them from happening is for there to be legal consequences. (And no, treating it as graffiti is just not acceptable or proportionate.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:43 PM on October 14, 2014


Kind of reminds me of the Stargate SG-1 episode Revisions, where everyone has "The Link" which connects them to the central AI, which tells them everything they need to know. And then starts altering that information. People who yesterday were convinced that A is true are today convinced that no, A is false and B is true, and it has ever been so, because The Link says so.
posted by xedrik at 7:27 AM on October 15, 2014


Screaming "Die of AIDS, faggot" is vile, reprehensible, and needs to be answered immediately, but it is not violence.

Says someone who's obviously never been woken up at night by someone calling to whisper threats of rape and murder against you and your family. Or had someone promise to shoot up a university if you commit the sin of speaking in public.

I really hope you get to continue living in your bubble of naive privilege. Because the people I care for can't.
posted by happyroach at 8:45 AM on October 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I very much do believe that certain expressions of certain opinions, that is those designed specifically to intimidate and harass, should be held to very different standards.

From a legal philosophical point of view, I think it is important to focus our prohibition on the performative, rather than constative, aspects of the speech acts. Which is not to argue that certain violent acts of hate speech should not be outlawed, but that care, I think, should be taken to construct such laws as are necessary in as ideologically neutral way as is possible. Hence I would suggest focussing on the violent effect and intent of criminalised speech, rather than the content of the opinion expressed. I don't think we're necessarily disagreeing here, but I do think it is important to exercise very significant caution about the formulation of such laws.
posted by howfar at 11:01 AM on October 15, 2014


That's really easy to say when it's a dry and abstract notion to you. For many of us--including, to be realistic, 50% of the population--it's not abstract in the least. Ideologically neutral comes from the same well of bullshit that 'teaches the controversy' and 'both sides are just as bad.'

Or, what happyroach said: I really hope you get to continue living in your bubble of naive privilege. Because the people I care for can't.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:02 PM on October 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ideologically neutral comes from the same well of bullshit that 'teaches the controversy' and 'both sides are just as bad.'

The obvious counterpoint is that ideologically motivated comes from the same well of bullshit as some other pretty terrible things that we're all anxious to avoid. I don't think that's a productive line of discussion for us to pursue, in and of itself.

I think it might be useful if you point out where you actually, specifically disagree with me, and why. Because I'm not really sure what it is about my position you're taking exception to, either in terms of practical policy making or the thought process behind it. There is a constructive discussion to be had here, I expect, but I am not sure we're approaching it yet.
posted by howfar at 12:38 PM on October 15, 2014


I thought I had, but if you want me to spell it out: I specifically disagree with your suggestion that "it is important to focus our prohibition on the performative, rather than constative, aspects of the speech acts."

The content matters. There is a difference, for example, between "All whites must die" and "All n____ must die." It's about power imbalance.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:18 PM on October 15, 2014


Of course you're right. I don't disagree with you in the slightest. I am slightly surprised to find that you think I do.

The question, I think, is whether it is possible to construct a legal system which is capable of reacting to those real differentials of power without (for example) specifically prohibiting the latter phrase and allowing the former, presumably by means of legislation or executive action. I, personally, believe it is feasible to expect courts to make the distinction between those phrases, without specifically instructing them on a case by case basis. Courts do this sort of thing all the time. That does not mean we couldn't construct legislation that requires them specifically to consider the power dynamic and cultural context, and that might very well be a productive step, perhaps with specific mechanisms for ensuring that the voices of those who are typically victimised are heard in the judicial process. But I would still argue that the correct focus for prohibition would be on the performative effect of the act, even in those many cases where constative aspects form vital and unavoidable context.
posted by howfar at 1:39 PM on October 15, 2014


I think we have to agree to disagree then.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:46 PM on October 15, 2014


How come nobody ever disagrees to agree?
posted by signal at 6:45 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


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