The Internet is for Spam


Eggs, ham, sausage and spam.
Some say the Internet is for porn; but you know that in truth the Internet is for spam. As communication technologies got cheaper, the cost of grabbing a megaphone and jamming it up against the aching ear-drums of an advertising-jaded public collapsed: Meanwhile, the content-is-king mantra of the monetization mavens gridlocked the new media in an advertising-supported business model. The great and the good of the Academy have been fighting a losing battle against the Anglo-Saxon hucksterization model for the past thirty years: But the sad truth is that the battle’s lost. The tide of war was turned in Beijing and New Delhi, when the rapidly industrializing new superpowers climbed on the MAKE MONEY FAST band-wagon and gave free reign to the free market, red in tooth and claw – just as long as the sharp bits were directed outwards. And today the entire world is still drowning in a sea of attention-grabbing unregulated unethical untruthful spamvertising.
Spam, ham, sausage and spam.
Rule 34, Charles Stross

Does that sound like a plausible description of the Internet of 2023 or not?
Rule 34 by Charles Stross is an Internet-savvy, darkly funny police procedural set in Edinburgh, a decade in the future. DI Liz Kavanaugh of the Rule 34 Squad is called in to investigate when three spammers are murdered. Well worth a read.
I hope Charles is wrong and the battle against hucksterization of the Internet hasn’t been lost by 2023, but I’ve a nasty feeling some of his predictions will turn out to be painfully accurate.

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1 comment

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  • One thing about writing is that you somtimes need to do some world-building that isnt necessarily untrue, it just tends to leave out information that is unnecessary or contradicts the feeling that a writer is trying to convey. I think that in some ways, Charles is right on the money, but on the other side of the coin, there are many organizations out there that have a very different, yet equally true prediction.
    We need to remember that there are some seriously brilliant minds on both sides of the equation (whether or not we agree with them). Just as somebody will always find new ways to spam, there will always be people like us on the other side, working just as hard to stop it.

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