“I think cutting down on physical commodities in general might be a trend of my generation – cutting down on physical commodities that can be replaced by digital counterparts will be a fact,” said Mr Sutton.
The tech-savvy Los Angeles “transplant” credits his external hard drives and online services like iTunes, Hulu, Flickr, Facebook, Skype and Google Maps for allowing him to lead a minimalist life.
“I think the shift to all digital formats in all methods and forms of media consumption is inevitable and coming very quickly,” said Mr Sutton.
I’ll fully admit that I’m a little bit paranoid. Not like tinfoil-hat paranoid, just like a guy who has read 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 and spent a lot of time thinking about how it all could go wrong.
So articles like this one, about the new and pretentious so-called 21st-Century Minimalists, freak me out a bit. The piece highlights a growing number of people who have parted with all their old-media possessions to go all-digital, including at least a few that tossed their apartments out with their DVD collections, preferring the enormously presumptuous route of crashing on people’s couches.
And look: I realize this (outside of the drifter thing) is the direction the world is going and its sort of silly to fight it. Eventually I’ll have a Kindle or an iPad or something like it, and most of the books I own will be in electronic format even if I love the feeling of making progress through pages in print.
But since many of the largest entities putting books online are corporations — beholden to different standards than schools or the government — what happens as we begin depending on eBooks more and more? What if Google wins a bunch of lawsuits and someday completes the Google Books project and we become reliant on it? Then we’re at their mercy, and if Google decides to move into Phase 2 and start working on thought control then, well, whoops.
I’m getting ahead of myself. I just still think there’s value in having something actually exist in some hard form of media, if only for posterity.
Also I didn’t even mention how desperately the guy quoted above is begging to be plugged into The Matrix. OK, bro, you want a fully digital existence? You got it. Now you’re powering Keanu Reeves’ war against the machines.
I need help with something, I can fully understand and get on board with getting rid of DVD’s, books, music, CDs, paper bills, etc, which could cut the amount of posession you have by a great deal.
But I fail to grasp how digital technology allows one to get rid of thier place to live and become a freeloader? I think this is just taking it a little bit to far is it not?
Play this out, say this catches on, and alot of people start doing it. I mean I would assume that some of this guys friends would probably be some who hop on board right? What happens when they start ditching thier pads for the ‘digital life’? Then where does everyone sleep?
I imagine Apple stores would have some sort of human docking stations available where you could go rest while you recharge all your electronics.
And this clown is a travel agent. I’d hate to see what kind of trips he plans for people.
“Hey you dont really need to even go anywhere, you can just save some money and look at pictures of the Norwegian Dawn online.”
“But since many of the largest entities putting books online are corporations…”
Isn’t that equally true of print books? If you go to Barnes and Noble and pick up a copy of 1984 or Fahrenheit 451, aren’t those printed by corporations too?
I mean, I understand where you’re coming from, I just didn’t think that particular passage made a whole lot of sense.
Oh, big difference – one is hosting the books, the other’s just printing them. So if the publishing company decides evolution is nonsense and stops printing On the Origin of Species, that’s fine – mine is still in my parents attic and in libraries everywhere. (it’s a bad example since it’s public domain now anyway so everyone can print it, but whatever.)
Anyway, the issue is then who actually has physical control of the books. If – and I recognize that this won’t actually happen – in my dystopian future scenario, we entirely rely on Google Books and Google decides that evolution is nonsense, then it can just pull the book off the servers and no one has access to it anymore.
Though I guess you download stuff to ereaders, don’t you? Maybe this theory needs work.
I think the Kindle doesn’t give you control of the copy. I’m reminded of the NY Times story about how Amazon deleted people’s copies of “1984” because the version available was infringing on the copyright. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/technology/companies/18amazon.html?scp=1&sq=kindle%20orwell&st=cse
I could just be totally dumb but I’m struggling to see how the logical jump from putting all your cds on an ipod is getting rid of your apartment and bumming it out on someones couch.
That just means you’re not ready.
Will this revolution be digitalized? I’d like to prepare myself by viewing it on youtube.
For an amusing/frightening look into our dystopian digital future, I recommend Gary Shteyngart’s new novel, Super Sad True Love Story.
The incident Billy Pilgrim referred to above was quite surreal. And yes, given that Amazon has a degree of control over the books you download to your Kindle even after you’ve paid for them, I guess I do see your point about the added degree of control with regard to electronic media (at least in some cases) as compared to hard media.