Look, Cyber is tough, we all know this. It’s very, very tough. It’s maybe hardly even doable, in fact. There’s just no way to tell what’s going on. And it seems last year we lost one of the few people who truly did know what was going on.
The BBC posted this clip from a 1999 interview with David Bowie yesterday on their Facebook page, an act which Bowie basically predicts in the clip.
Bowie: I think the potential for what the Internet is going to do for society, both good and bad, is unimaginable. I think we are on the cusp of something both exhilarating and terrifying.
Paxman: It’s just a tool, though. Isn’t it?
Bowie: No, it’s not. No. It’s an alien life form. [Laughs.] Is there life on Mars? YES, and it’s just landed here.
The bad Bowie is referring to here, of course, is essentially all of 2016. Harambe, Facebook Live, meme magic. All of it. Bad!
Bowie goes on to describe the looming
apocalypse for disruption of traditional media, “when the interplay of user and provider will be so in sympatico it’s going to crush our ideas of what mediums are all about.” That is basically the most cogent summary of that whole Facebook-as-a-media-company debate.
Bowie, naturally, was an early adopter of the World Wide Web. In 1998 he set up his own Bowie.net, a web service built primarily to distribute his music online, beating Jay-Z’s Tidal to market by about a cool 20 years. He also offered branded/vanity email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org, which, while it never really caught on, is kind of hilarious.
You can check out the full video below. The stuff about the internet starts around the nine-minute mark.