Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Silver Lining

Share |

The day is rapidly approaching when hard drives and backup discs, CDs and DVDs will become relics of a quaint age when we still relied on the tangible storage of words and images. In a sense, these devices are a last link to the mechanical past when things were actual, like paper-based books. In these transitioning times, print, memory sticks and Blu-rays continue to mark our place, in the same way as films, tapes and vinyl records once did.

I still have a cupboard full of dusty documentaries that I once produced, originally dubbed onto VHS or burned into DVDs. Since every film took the better part of a year to make, each hardcopy served as a visual and aural diary of what I did during each of those youthful years. They are like a drawer full of old letters, a clutter of rich memories.

It won’t be long before Cloud computing will render virtual what little remains of palpable human expression, as Baudrillard’s “telematic vision” (from his “The Ecstasy of Communication”} comes true. Even as I compose these few lines, millions of books, newspapers, movies, videos, photos and magazines are all being vacuumed up into iCloud, turning our collective consciousness into vapourware. Soon, our lives will be available to all, as the final frontiers of privacy collapse. No longer will those without Twitter accounts be able to hide. Instead, we will become cybercitizens, entering a brave new world of computer-generated communalism. Without that online imprint, we will cease to exist. Should it ever collapse or fall prey to terrorism, what hope for a society with its head in the Cloud?

But until that fateful day of algorithmic Armageddon, rather than mourn the passing of material culture, we can take solace in virtual immortality, our imprint linked over and over across the electronic universe - a life to be shared and shared and shared, if only by an industrious army of government and corporate data miners. Now, thanks to the Cloud, our lives will be henceforth de-cluttered, organized, categorized, key worded, numbered, digitized, branded and repurposed, freeing us, the virtual Wordsworths, to wander never lonely.

1 comment

Both sobering and chilling, David. You give us much to think about - too much, in fact, for this late night reader.

Is it possible to be aware of this speeding train and stay peacefully content? I'm not so sure anymore. Sadly, I'm beginning to understand the appeal of burying one's head in the sand.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

David Tucker

David Tucker is an award-winning television writer, producer and director. His short story collection, One Way Ticket, is published by BookLand Press.

Go to David Tucker’s Author Page