Many moons ago, I read a short Sci-Fi story in a paperback book I’d bought called
The book is a 1972 Pan edition of an earlier compilation by Damon Knight called “100 Years of Science Fiction” and is well worth a read if you can get a copy. I’ve just re-read it.
Briefly, the story was written in the late fifties when the height of electronics sophistication was an auto-changing record player. Ralph Williams sets the time slightly earlier and has aliens dropping a replication machine on Earth as a means to destabilise the economy of the world and thus make it easier to conquer.
(As an aside, maybe Richard S Fuld is an alien as he’s certainly made a good job of destabilising economies. There’s far too much testosterone in his face for anyone’s good )
So far so good. What happens next is an analysis of events where the machine can copy anything, even itself. Cash is copyable and thus becomes valueless as do washing machines and ALL consumer goods. Even art.
The only thing of value is the original (copied) article. Credit cards become the currency of commerce as the bank account can’t be copied as it’s a virtual mathematical entity (so even if the credit card is copied, it’s still attached to the same account). Society is assumed not to break down in the story, after the initial hiatus generated.
Here are a few links that mention the story that I’ve found:
The story has interesting parallels with our modern world where all creative works can now be easily copied by any skill-less person. In that respect, it is a true future story as when it was written, there was no internet or anything remotely like it!
I’ve mentioned a few times my opinions about folk who post our work as Crawling Chaos willy-nilly onto the web under the guise of “spreading the good news” or whatever. These people think that they are somehow invisible on the web, despite all the news articles of people (mostly sex-fiends so far, granted) being caught purely from their on-line activities. Somehow, they fail to correlate their actions with the events around themselves. They will use the immense power of modern computing outwards but amazingly believe that it’s a one way wire and they cannot affect their surroundings! Like infants, they are not connected to the real world.
But Now, the forces of big business are slowly being marshalled, like the awakening of a slumbering giant, and they, and us, will eventually see that their actions have cut off all our noses to spite their faces….
This article tells how this is happening. What it fails to point out is how. The insidious method is explained here; http://www.p2pnet.net/story/17146 and it really will balloon out in use, of that I’m sure. The spanner in the file sharing works has a real name of DPI – deep packet inspection. This looks at all the information going in and out of everyone’s computer. When combined with ever increasing computing and storage power and live geographical mapping it will make the UK TV Detector Vans look archaic!
As such it’s a very worrying thing for us all, especially when it gets into the hands of paranoid governments and megalomaniacs…
…but also by large internet companies who also own copyright material! It’s the usual suspects, I don’t need to spell them out, but the umbrella organisation is here; http://www.artsandlabs.com
Fish around and enjoy the company speak! See how the use of words subtly disguises the fiendish devilment, like here as well; http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/index.cfm?newsid=104929 ( In this example they are using the technology to suppress “net pollution” ) Ha Ha! Roll on big brother and ID cards.
So thanks twat file sharers. In your quest for “freedom of expression and action” you’ve cut off your noses to spite your face. You are not part of society and I don’t blame you. You are society. And your actions are part of the general malaise that seeks to make us all, less free.