Emerging Markets in TelecommunicationsComputer-Mediated-Interactive-Communication-Technology (CMICT) & the Anthropology of Communication: A Philippine Example
Recently a Philippine tourism official claimed that a mobile saved his life. A bystander took pictures on a mobile while the official was being menaced by kidnappers – seeing this, the kidnappers fled. Another triumph for the mobile. To some, the microchip was a wondrous invention – a high-tech helper that could increase security at nuclear plants and military bases, help authorities identify wandering Alzheimer’s patients, allow consumers to buy their groceries, literally, with the wave of a chipped hand. To others, the notion of tagging people was Orwellian, a departure from centuries of history and tradition in which people had the right to go and do as they pleased, without being tracked, unless they were harming someone else. Chipping, these critics said, might start with Alzheimer’s patients or Army Rangers, but would eventually be suggested for convicts, then parolees, then sex offenders, then illegal aliens – until one day, a majority of Americans, falling into one category or another, would find themselves electronically tagged.
Li Yijiang, 25, killed and mutilated six Beijing men between late 2002 and early last year, the Beijing Today newspaper reported. Police linked the murders by discovering all six victims had regularly used a pornographic website called Purple Boy. They then followed the trail to Li, who was arrested in August last year. Li confessed to the killings, saying he had logged on to the website after moving to Beijing from remote Xinjiang region to attend university. Li told police he was gang-raped after meeting the six men at a disco used by Purple Boy regulars. He later lured each man separately to his death.
With the development of the Internet, and with the increasing pervasiveness of communications between networked computers, we are in the middle of the most transforming technological event since the capture of fire. I used to think that it was just the biggest thing since Gutenberg, but now I think you have to go back further. (Barlow, 1995:36)
We’re going to be Gods, we might as well get good at it. In another thousand years, we’ll be machines or gods (Gray, 2002:9).
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