OT: Tron and mistaken visions

Yhis post concerns “big long term” METAR, as it dives into dim 1970’s roots of the very different economy and culture we live in now.

The movie Tron was earthshaking for me as it came out when I was deeply involved in a contract to attempt to hack into the then ARPANET (what essentially became the internet), and the plot of the movie eerily echoed the exact strategy (surreptiously gain control of i/o portal of a node so as to be able to take over all other nodes) and even many of the exact tactics I was using (mimic a very high level identity, such as the command TRaceON).

This excellent retrospective article on the movie speaks of the pregnant lay of the digital terrain of that time, and of both the stunning insights and mistaken beliefs of key institutions and players, including Xerox PARC, Disney, Pixar, Jobs, Gates, and “a cast of thousands”, insights I see as of great use to all of us attempting economic and cultural prognostication:


and ends with this excellent warning:

“Tron is so idealistic: ‘If we just get the tools into the hands of people, then democracy is assured for all time,’” he says. “The irony is that the computer has been used to just damn-near overthrow democracy! If someone had said: ‘If we put these tools into the hands of the public, it’s going to result in endless conspiracy theories, misinformation, lack of civility, endless rivers of porn, and the most violent video games you could ever imagine,’ we would have said: ‘Oh, no way. It’s going to be wonderful!’ It turns out we can predict the tools of the future but we can’t really predict the philosophies or the ethics of the future.”

I still love watching the original, which is eerily homelike for me.

david fb