This particular snippet is particularly resonant to the challenges of Glowforge ownership.
Selling your soul to the devil for fame and fortune is a timeless narrative driver. Doctorow is especially interested in individual rights and freedoms while at the same time having an admirable understanding of the common good.
The wrestling match of the control of technology between the boundaries of individual freedom and the boundaries of social benefit gets played out over and over in so many ways.
I do believe that Glowforge is genuinely interested in the benefit of its customers. This forum has documented that interest. At the same time, the boundaries of property, international law, and simple logistics are going to get mangled by the inescapable dynamic of I/Them.
Cory is one of my favorite thinkers of this time. A wonderful SF writer also…
This sums things up well even beyond technology.
“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” and “the needs of the one (or few) outweigh the needs of the many” are both true statements, just depends on the situation. The sticky part is figuring out when each applies.
Bruce Schneier, the security guy, has long compared the situation to feudalism: you decide which corporate overlord will own and guard your stuff, but “none of the above” is not much better as an option than it was in the middle ages.
Thanks for the link! Bookmarking to read later today.
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