Cory Doctorow: A Computer You Put Your Body Into

As we head into the last few months before the Bay Area Hackfest in November, this blog will feature a series of abstracts of the talk that our speakers, each of them a thoughtful and engaging expert in their fields, will be sharing in November.

a photograph of Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow

The world is made of computers: a car is a computer we put humans into, a pacemaker is a computer we put into people, a voting machine is a computer we put a democracy into.

That’s actually pretty great news—assuming we get to decide how those computers work and to change them if they’re working against us. Some last-century technology laws seriously challenge that, though, and they’re increasingly in the way of the kinds of benevolent hacking we rely on.

We get to make our own future, and that future will be determined by a combination of what we can technologically accomplish, what’s legal, what’s considered moral, and what’s profitable. The choices we make today affect all of those factors.

We get to choose: a future where computers serve us, or where they boss us around. Let’s choose wisely.