We’re all starting to live „virtual“ lives which are different from our real identities and, sometimes, even a replacement in their opinion. It might sensibly be said that many folks have a „virtual identity“ that looks just as real as our authentic regular selves where we respond physical with individuals. More than this, we might also say that online identities have a specific indestructibility which our physical selves are lacking: on-line buddies do not get ill for example and exist not physical, but somewhere „out there“ in cyberspace. If on-line buddies perish, we’re saved their dying throes; we just locate new virtual pals and forget those which don’t appear any longer.
I’m actually believing and attempting to develop thoughts as I write this down. Maybe Foucault would consider that on-line action was depriving us of our ability to connect to other human beings. Perhaps he’d believe the entire world was effectively being controlled and used by Microsoft and another large computer companies like Apple and Intel. What, maybe he’d inquire, is driving the search for ever faster computers and software? I will be certain he’d blow off the notion this growth was occurring for the advantage of the person or consumer.
On the other hand, I am convinced Foucault would also see the possibility „transgressivity“ of computers and the manner by which they, no doubt unintentionally, give power and knowledge to anyone who can browse the still mostly unregulated Internet.
No doubt an excellent battle is just starting for control of the knowledge and power given by the Internet and computers.
- During this period, it’s in no way clear who’ll eventually emerge as „defenders“ of the „knowledge“ that computers give.
- Everything is still in a deep state of flux: authorities will fall, revolutions will happen, old processes of forming power structures will be lost and new ones be embraced.
Censorship will grow and on-line access to some groups refused. The image is fuzzy and too much in smooth motion, too much at the mercy of whim and layout, to be at all foreseeable. One thing, nevertheless, is certain: everything is shifting and we’re living on the cusp of momentous new techniques of directing power and of creating resistless systems of control over both real and virtual bodies. On the other hand the knowledge that computers give appears to likewise incorporate an unpredictable component which will equally empower discontents to get power and knowledge, turning it against the more conventional commanding components in society.