Last modified on 17 June 2009, at 17:46

Talk:Bruce Sterling

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  • A lack of a workable means of cultural consumption has killed off the Internet boom and lost AOL Time Warner $54 billion dollars in just one quarter. It's a big, ugly, stinking deal, with extremely high stakes, in which there are no heroes.
  • A security cam is one small part of a much larger universe of cams. The much larger effect, socially, politically and economically, is going to come from a much larger trend.
  • A set of Bollywood actresses are coming through Dallas soon in a live tour; I'd pay a lot to see them, but alas, I'm fully booked elsewhere.
  • An insane information-hungry KGB or a relatively open and decent government? Vote with your feet.
  • David Brin is a technological determinist. He thinks that we understand the trend and we need to hop on it. I don't have any such illusions.
  • Dubai seems to be the primary area in which Al Qaeda and its allies within India launder their money through the hawala system. Dubai is thriving.
  • Events that Queen Victoria would recognize as outrages, frontier skirmishes or minor popular rebellions will be reclassified as "war." And so will major atrocities such as biological warfare and surreptitious nuclear explosions.
  • Get the hell away from those lunatics. Who the hell wants to live in a USA with a TIA in it? Why would you want to invest in that country? The currency would crash. The political elite would annihilate one another.
  • Googling is international. It's not just restricted to cranky Republicans who couldn't erase e-mail in their PROFS (Professional Office System). That's going to have more of an effect. It's difficult to escape a tragedy in your life that's not your own fault.
  • Humans are very aggressive and scrappy, and go to war at the drop of a hat. However, a standard land war is no longer going to work as it is no longer technically possible.
  • I do have two data identities. I have my name, Bruce Sterling, which is my public name under which I write novels. I also have my other name, which is my legal name under which I own property and vote.
  • I don't think that Poindexter's nutty scheme has much real-world traction. I think the question's badly formulated, really.
  • I don't think there's much distinction between surveillance and media in general. Better media means better surveillance. Cams are everywhere.
  • I haven't had that good a time in ages. Since September 11, really. I just felt so happy, it was like the sun came out of the clouds for me. I love Italy.
  • I like to get paid for doing basic research, so it's pleasant to write some nonfiction about it.
  • I noticed that people are doing a lot of "googling" before a first date nowadays - this represents the real trend. Poindexter's doing this and DARPA allowed him to do it for the propaganda that someone's serious about cyberwar someplace.
  • I used to think that cyberspace was fifty years away. What I thought was fifty years away, was only ten years away. And what I thought was ten years away... it was already here. I just wasn't aware of it yet.
  • I was once a student in a punk T-Shirt hooked on screwed-up scenarios. That's how I became the esteemed cultural figure that I am today.
  • I wouldn't describe that "position" as "parasitic." I'd describe that experience as "edifying." I don't merely write from a critical intellectual distance. I actually live around here.
  • I'll tell you what will happen if it were an effective TIA. There would immediately be a series of coups inside the Republican Party as the people who owned the KGB survival mechanism were systemically outed and "Trent Lotted."
  • I'm an entertainer in the military-entertainment complex.
  • I'm especially interested in Dubai's connection to the Bombay criminal underworld. Most zealots with guns gravitate toward organized crime, because it's a lot easier to have money and buy gunmen than it is to have gunmen and get money.
  • I've been in the Pentagon, and there's not unanimous sentiment in there. The Pentagon is not a monolithic entity, it's a bunch of different military services and established industrial interests quarreling over tactics and funding.
  • I've heard people speculate that the growing American vogue for murder-suicides in the workplace has a certain tinge of the apocalypse.
  • If bin Laden is in fact publicly killed, then the US military will find itself standing around with its hands in its pockets, wondering what's supposed to come next.
  • If disasters get bad enough, they certainly become national-security threats and the National Guard is called in.
  • If politics and business fail us, of course the military will be called in. In the developing world, the massive and repeated ecological disasters are quite commonly met by the military.
  • If the National Guard never goes home because the weather never gets any better, that's a scenario we Viridians like to call "Khaki Green."
  • It would be corny to be in Afghanistan or the West Bank. Lebanon, too easy. Bombay, too full of itself. Dubai, just about right. Not too hot, not too cold, just close enough to the blazing fires of geo-political context; close enough to warm your greedy hands.
  • It would be profoundly destabilizing. Their sexual affairs would be public. They'd be "Lewinskied." They'd be "Whitewatered."
  • It's a destabilizing threat to democracy. In "Tomorrow Now," the chapter on politics talks about media toxicity - the outbirth of opposition research where nobody can ever be clean.
  • It's a disturbed, scrambling, doubtful, rather feverish time for them. Somebody crashed into the Pentagon and they're busy rebuilding the wreckage.
  • It's by no means a pleasant prospect, but what else is there? I once saw the 82nd Airborne doing rescue and psychological operations in the wreckage of Hurricane Andrew. I respect their dedication, and the population was thrilled to see them.
  • It's going to be really interesting to see what the heroin market does in the next two years or so. One thing you can be pretty sure of. The Afghan peasants who grow poppies won't get rich. The money will end up in places like Dubai.
  • It's more a symptom of increasing class and income differentiation. The ultra-rich may be feeding roses and champagne to their racehorses, but that doesn't mean we're on the brink of an apocalypse.
  • Last week I was in Italy hanging out with Linux freeware activists in a college event sponsored by a dance club that's run by some kind of anarchist dive with Communists, and feminists, and hackers, and the media, and professors, and guys with piercings who hate Berlusconi.
  • My hero keeps coming up with these elaborately justified schemes. He's delusional. He does redouble his efforts when he loses sight of his aims.
  • My idea of an amusement park story is getting adventurers to go tour environmental disaster areas. After all, if the entire Great Barrier Reef gets killed, which seems like an extremely lively possibility, what are you going to do with all that rotting limestone?
  • One of the points about distractions is that everything that they do is destabilizing.
  • People in the Pentagon had colleagues killed and maimed by bin Laden. They're trying to find bin Laden and kill him and his cult. Naturally they consider that a legitimate thing to do, but they're having mixed success at the job.
  • Political people don't solve stuff - not really. Political people are like guys in pop music.
  • Privacy under what circumstance? Privacy at home under what circumstances? You have more privacy if everyone's illiterate, but you wouldn't really call that privacy. That's ignorance.
  • Saying you have a political solution is like saying you can write a pop song that's going to stay at the top of the list forever. I don't have many illusions about this, but I'm not cynical about it.
  • Take a project like the Dubai Media City: at the crossroads of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, Dubai Media City is being described as the region's media hub.
  • The Bollywood distribution system is so corrupt that they have trouble making money off movies. So they sell shoes that an actress stepped in. If they turned up the amps some, maybe they could sell the actresses.
  • The Chernobyl "wilderness" - disappearing glaciers - trees growing on dead skyscrapers in Detroit - in the Viridian movement we spend a lot of time and energy describing and studying these things.
  • The common population would stand aghast as these people did one another in. It would not stop once the surveillance mechanism was there. It would eat generation after generation of KGB members until it decapitated and lobotomized the entire population.
  • The intellectual-property crisis is going into the trenches right now.
  • The level of ignorance is declining, and the ability to accumulate data and manipulate it for various ends is increasing.
  • There are no fronts, the commanding headquarters of generals can be smashed instantly and are number-one targets, supply lines can be interdicted at will, trans-border invasions by organized national armies are heavily disapproved by large coalitions of nations.
  • There are plenty of Republican senators now who know what happened to Trent Lott - how can they not? They have street smarts. They're aware that he was nailed because people happened to record something that was at the practical funeral of a centenarian.
  • They used to be seen as insane or unthinkable acts of madmen. But if they take place they'll be called "war" too. And there will still be no conventional war.
  • They're busily re-thinking a lot of their cherished doctrines. Nothing concentrates the military mind like getting shot at.
  • War as Napoleon knew it just not possible any more. However, we're very unlikely to accept or recognize "world peace" even when we get it.
  • We indeed see the globe caught up in a "new kind of world war," but what kind is it? Veterans of World War One and Two would have to shake their heads at a "war" where people die in fives, dozens or hundreds rather than millions.
  • We may yet work up to some serious shooting war, or maybe some acts of urban genocide committed with rogue nuclear weapons. But if that were the case, why would we call that "9/11"? If Washington disappeared in a mushroom cloud, we'd give that huge event a different name.
  • We might be on the brink of an apocalypse if, instead of poor people with suicide bombs killing middle class guys, middle-class people with suicide bombs started killing rich guys.
  • Well, they didn't lack for topics after Hiroshima. Why should 9/11 slow them down? I know it got a lot of press, but it's just a few large buildings and aircraft, it's not like D-Day and the Seige of Berlin.
  • What's also very interesting about Dubai, is that it has recently been promoted as the "portal" of the United Arab Emirates.
  • Years ago, if your husband died in a house fire, you could get a covered wagon and go to Oregon. Now, as soon as you arrive in Oregon, someone could google you. "Oh, well, widow Simpson. Really sorry to hear about the house fire."
  • You don't get to cut that chain of evidence and start over. You're always going to be pursued by your data shadow, which is forming from thousands and thousands of little leaks and tributaries of information.
  • Young people may not be real worldly, but they're untroubled by the ballast of dead concepts and they think really fast. They've got plenty of time to develop "critical/intellectual distance," not that they much like doing it.
  • "Zeitgeist" is part of a continuing series of stories involving an iconic figure who travels to peculiar yet illuminating corners of contemporary society.