By LEE SIEGEL
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Extra resources for Against The Machine: Being Human in the Era of the Electronic Mob
Taking a cue from the frictionless vision and commerce-saturated language of Web culture, they describe a world where business values define all of our options. THE MYTH OF THE “BOURGEOIS BOHEMIAN” Web culture is the final stage in the long, slow assimilation of subversive values to conventional society. With the advent of the Internet, business culture has now strangely become identified with untrammeled mental and spiritual freedom—a freedom once defined by its independence from the commercial realm.
Bell believed that an economic view of life was the core of a computer-centered culture. This is precisely the dynamic that drives Gates’s vision of the Internet. When Microsoft’s founder speaks of a “frictionTHE FUTURE, DANIEL BELL B A I T A N D S W I T C H / 31 less” global economy, he isn’t just conjuring up a world in which borders, tariffs, and protectionist restrictions no longer apply to streams of information borne instantaneously through virtual space. In Gates’s personal idiom, “frictionless” seems to be an ideal that goes beyond the simple idea of increased efficiency.
Its September 2006 report on the current state and future of Internet culture has been widely used by anxious or self-interested journalists to forecast, among other things, the “ T H E W O R L D I S A L L T H AT I S T H E C A S E ” / 23 death of newspapers and print magazines. According to the Pew Project, “Internet users have become more likely to note big improvements in their ability to shop and the way they pursue their hobbies and interests. ” The report then adds this creepy glance into the future: “Tech ‘refuseniks’ will emerge as a cultural group characterized by their choice to live off the network.
Against The Machine: Being Human in the Era of the Electronic Mob by LEE SIEGEL