Google’s motto: Don’t be evil. (9)

In the final minutes of a Google Authors talk by Slavoj Zizek, professor and philosopher, one of Google’s employees asks Zizek what he thinks about Google’s informal motto: “Don’t be evil.” In essence, what are Google’s unknown knowns, or as Freud would say, unconscious elements?

Is Google aware of its potential for abusive power?

Is Google aware of its potential for abusive power?

As discussed in the previous post, Google’s ownership of Youtube has led to increased detection of copyright infringement and the removal of videos that contravene its pornography and obscenity guidelines.

Zizek responds by wondering why Google is worried about being evil, and which model of evil they subscribe to. Perhaps being the most powerful search engine, they could be open to manipulating what the public sees when they search for a term like “McDonalds” versus “McDonalds food poisoning.”

Zizek defines evil as something which “brutally interrupts the normal running of things, evil is a cut, which is why for certain pagan religions, Jesus Christ is evil embodied. And in a way they are right,” because he signalled an end to obeying Karma and believing in reincarnation.

Zizek interprets Google’s motto as “we are doing something terribly great lets not do it too fast.”

Google does fit Zizek’s simplified model of evil, in that they have broken ground (from a software perspective), and changed the way a new generation watches video and finds its information. This affects, according to Zizek, normal community life and a small part of what it means to be human.

Published in: on February 4, 2009 at 4:09 pm  Comments (3)  

Youtube – The new video monopoly? (8) (video 3)

“No freedom, no content”

Fakesagan, a quasi-famous Youtube user with 6,010 subscribers, has recently decided to quit supplying Youtube with content.

After receiving a second strike to his account for including a segment of his girlfriend’s amateur cartoon which included a cartoon depiction of breasts and buttox which Youtube deemed to be pornographic, fakesagan claims Youtube’s censorship has gone too far.

“Its about power, that’s what censorship is really about,” says fakesagan. The popular misconception that censors hate offensive art is wrong, he says. Its more about a jealous control over artists.

Fakesagan claims he stopped watching TV and made his home on Youtube to escape TV’s “banal corporate fluff” which insulted his intelligence. But the corporation has followed him onto the Net.

As Strangelove has said, Youtube has cornered about 60 per cent of the video watching market on the Internet. Youtube’s inital autonomy and relatively lax rules for posting didn’t last long. Under the economic pressure of powerful corporations, they have just recently become more stringent.

New detection technology has targeted the audio tracks of videos automatically detecting copyright infringements when a protected song is used without permission and removing it from the video.

Fakesagan is perhaps correct in his decision to “stick it to the man” by halting content creation.

“I’ve always understood something about the nature of freedom that other people don’t. Freedom is ephemeral. You can’t bottle it. You can’t engineer a free society. You can’t develop a philosophy or a religion that’s conducive to ‘setting one free’. You can’t write freedom into a constitution or any document. Freedom is fleeting. You can’t catch lightning in a bottle,” he says.

Fakesagan promises to take his anti-establishment political v-logging to another website. But he understands that freedom on any given website can only last so long.

The good thing about the internet, is there’s always another website just waiting for users jump ship. Youtube will have to be careful that its monopoly doesn’t evaporate as quickly as it appeared.

Published in: on February 4, 2009 at 3:32 am  Comments (1)  

The Normalization Thesis and a new musical invention. (5)

Normalization in the context of market ideology is the draw for people to retain the status quo by buying into capitalism its and bottomless-pit purchase, get bored, purchase more cycle. Its about being a good consumer and not asking subversive or analytical, (god-forbid critical!) questions.

C’mon! Just be normal! Why shouldn’t you love watching the same hockey game over and over again? Don’t fall in love! Love doesn’t exist. We have something that will take the edge off your hormones. What’ll it be? Booze or porn? Why not both!

Woody Norris has invented hyper-sonic sound. People usually tell him “Cool, but what’s it good for?”

Hyper-sonic sound is to the speaker what the laser is to the lightbulb. Hypersonic sound doesn’t dissipate in all directions, but is focused in a straight line.

For the first time people will be able to listen to true stereo sound. The speakers you’re used to let sound from the left channel into your right ear. With these new puppies you’ll be able to aim the separate channels at each ear and neither will interfere with the other.

Nevermind the long term effects of aiming what is effectively an ultrasound at your cerebellum.

Or nevermind that this new invention has already been appropriated into capitalism’s value system. Not much escapes the normalization thesis these days.

Nevermind the non-economic uses for this invention. The U.S. military is already using it to communicate with its troops on the ground to better annihilate the enemy, er… human beings.

Norris says pretty soon you’ll see it in malls, grocery marts and big box stores. Waiting in line to pay you’ll suddenly step into the sound zone without knowing it. The speakers will lock onto you and you won’t have a chance. Who doesn’t want to be entertained while waiting in a long line? And nobody else can hear what you’re watching.

Norris claims he’s creating silence at the same time as advertising foofaraw, as anyone can take another step and they’ll be free of the hyper-sonic soundwaves.

But lets not kid ourselves. All Norris is selling is one more new way to grab people and shake a few more coins out of their pants pockets. He’s in it for the money. He says so himself.

Published in: on January 31, 2009 at 6:28 am  Leave a Comment