Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (Cory Doctorow)

[Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (Cory Doctorow)] I think this is a science-fiction book that approaches something we could imagine in our lifetime, and then pushes the envelope a little further. Basically people are fused with wireless technology, sort of a hyper-Blackberry type device implanted in your head, for communication and access to the internet 24/7 directly via the brain. This brain-computer interface allows also for memory back-up and transfer to another body, such as a clone of yourself, to achieve immortality in essence. Money as we know it is replaced by “Whuffie,” which is sort of currency of reputation. Society is already moving toward this lifestyle with cellular and wi-fi devices all over the place, and I can completely see somebody embedding them inside their bodies and making them CNS responsive. Immortality via clones I’m not so sure about.

A couple of interesting points from Down and Out:

  • In this fantastical society of reputation based wealth, manual laborers (bartenders and janitors are specifically mentioned) are loaded with Whuffie and have leisurely lives outside of their work.
  • Later in the book one of the main characters goes ‘offline’ (i.e. his computer implant is non-functional). He impresses himself at how well he can navigate the world without relying on the implanted technology. This is an interesting commentary from one of the main contributors to the world’s best blog, BoingBoing.net.

  • Cory Doctorow’s site: craphound.com

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