When a science-fiction villain is defeated, we often see the heroes take their victory lap and then everyone lives happily ever after. But that’s not how real struggles work: In real life, victories are followed by repairs, rebuilding, and reparations, by analysis and introspection, and often, by new battles.
Science-fiction author and science journalist Annalee Newitz knows social change is a neverending process, and revolutions are long and sometimes kind of boring. Their novels and nonfiction books, however, are anything but boring—they write dynamically about the future we actually want and can attain, not an idealized and unattainable daydream. They’re involved in a project called “We Will Rise Again,” an anthology pairing science fiction writers with activists to envision realistically how we can do things better as a neighborhood, a community, or a civilization.
Newitz speaks with EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley about depicting true progress as a long-haul endeavor, understanding that failure is part of the process, and creating good law as a form of world-building and improving our future.
In this episode, you’ll learn about:
- Why the Star Wars series “Andor” is a good depiction of the brutal, draining nature of engaging in protracted action against a repressive regime.
- The nature of the “hopepunk” genre, and how it acknowledges that things are tough and one small victory is not the end of oppression.
- How alien, animal, and artificial characters in fiction can help us examine and improve upon human relationships and how we use our resources.
- How re-thinking our allocation and protection of physical and intellectual property could bring about a more just future.
Annalee Newitz writes science fiction and nonfiction. Their new novel—“The Terraformers” (2023)—led Scientific American to comment, ‘It’s easy to imagine future generations studying this novel as a primer for how to embrace solutions to the challenges we all face." Their first novel—”Autonomous” (2017)—won the Lambda Literary Award. As a science journalist, they are the author of “Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age” (2021) and “Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction” (2013), which was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize in science. They are a writer for the New York Times; have a monthly column in New Scientist; and have been published in The Washington Post, Slate, Popular Science, Ars Technica, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, among others. They are the co-host of the Hugo Award-winning podcast Our Opinions Are Correct. Previously, they founded io9 and served as editor-in-chief of Gizmodo.
I think that a lot of science fiction and fantasy, when they represent a victory, they kind of go into what I call Wizard of Oz mode, which is you defeat the bad guy and then ding dong the wicked witch is dead and everybody's singing and dancing, and suddenly the terrible dark world goes back into technicolor and we're all fine. Everything's fine. And that is the most misleading representation of an uprising I've ever seen.
Because of course, when you win a battle, everything isn't fine. Now you have to repair the city that was destroyed by all the flying monkeys. You have to pay reparations to all of the munchkins and the other indentured servants who worked for the Wicked Witch. And it's just not easy. And I think that, you know, we're really stuck on that image of when we have the victory, everything becomes wonderful again. And that's not at all how social change functions. Social change is an ongoing process, and revolutions are long and sometimes kind of boring.
That’s Annalee Newitz. They’re a writer who thinks a lot about how fantasy and science fiction can help us find models for social change – and also about how those narratives can fail us, and the challenge for authors to give us stories that can make us more resilient to how social change actually works.
I’m Cindy Cohn, the Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
And I’m Jason Kelley, EFF’s Associate Director of Digital Strategy.
This is our podcast: How to Fix the Internet.
The idea behind this show is that we're trying to make our digital lives better. EFF spends a lot of time warning about all the ways that things could go wrong and then of course jumping into the fight when things do go wrong online. But what we'd like to do with this podcast is to give ourselves a vision of what the world looks like if we start to get it right.
Our guest today is Annalee Newitz. They’re a journalist and science fiction author – and a former EFF staffer – who spends a lot of time contemplating what speculative fiction can show us about fixing the internet and building a better world.
Recently I’ve been working with Annalee on a project called We Will Rise Again – it’s an anthology that pairs science fiction writers with activists – so we started off our conversation talking about where that idea came from, and what they hope it will accomplish.
This idea came from my long standing relationship with lots of community organizers and activists who often are basically trying to create science fiction in the real world. I really feel like folks who are, whether they're doing direct action on the street or trying to write policy or trying to make the FTC listen to them during a comment period, are often doing very hard science fiction.
They're trying to imagine how we could do things differently as a civilization, as a community, um, as a small group of people in a neighborhood. And so I had been talking to Andrea Dehlenedorf who does labor organizing for United for Respect, and she's worked a lot with Amazon workers and Walmart workers.
And she said, we want more science fiction that helps us think about how to do organizing in the future. And it just really sparked something and I thought about how a lot of science fiction treats organizing in a really fantastical way, even though we'll try for example, to like really represent gravity in this incredibly realistic way, people will have some kind of protest in a story or an uprising like in Star Wars where there's a resistance and you almost never see the hours and hours of organizing or the years of organizing that go into these kinds of things.
So I just really wanted to get a group of great writers together. I'm co-editing the anthology with Malka Older and Karen Lord who've also written a lot about political movements in their works. And we just wanted writers to write realistic futuristic stories, about what it really means to.have an uprising to have a resistance, to have any kind of social organizing or political organizing without just turning it into a fantasy, like a fantasy that is unrealistic. I guess it's funny to imagine writing a fantasy that is a realistic look at politics, but that's what we're trying to do.
I mean, I think there is something there. I mean obviously if it's, if it's not gonna be a 20 year story, it's not gonna cover how a lot of big changes happen. But I think that the picking and choosing of the pieces of the story you tell can help. And the thing that's very interesting to me about this is that, you know, we've grown a movement around digital rights since the nineties, since I got involved.
And recognizing the need to have resiliency in the movement to people to have stories in their head that aren't, you know, that are, that are the length of some of these, um, challenges. That's what's exciting to me about it. I really view, you know, science fiction is a way of recruiting people into, um, movements, into trying to make change in their world, um, or at least sparking their imagination is something that they could do with their lives.
And, making sure that, you know, we don't have to, we don't have to reproduce all of the drudgery of it, but I think we do need to, to get people ready for, for things that don't look like a two hour movie plot.
Yeah, I think one of the things that you and I talked a lot about, Cindy, was that failure is part of the process, or things that look like failure and and of the frustrations I always had when I was working at EFF was when I would talk to someone from outside the organization and they'd say like, well, how many lawsuits have you won?
It's like, that's not what we're doing. We don't have like a belt where we have, you know, like notches for like each lawsuit won. And also sometimes winning a lawsuit can actually result in bad law. So that's, that's not really how it works. It is about a long-term commitment to trying to understand how people's rights are being shaped and taken away in various digital spaces.
And it changes all the time. And it is, it's a long haul there. Of course, there are really awesome, you know, victories along the way that don't always mean that you've won in a courtroom. They can be other kinds of victories too. I really do hope, like you said, that it, that these kinds of stories, not just in this book, but elsewhere in the world of science fiction, do inspire people to get involved in politics.
You know, people often say science fiction inspired them to get involved in science. And so why not have it inspire people to get involved in social science, which is basically what it means to be part of a movement.
You just talked a little bit about types of victories, and one thing that I would love to see represented more in fiction is, what it really feels like when you win. Because the kind of traditional arc of a story is that you have this battle, you have some setbacks, and you win and everyone's happy.
And just recently at EFF we had a series of really exciting victories that frankly got way less attention than the battle from, you know, people, the media, all these things. Because when you're no longer fighting for your life, people lose interest. And also when they don't have to help, they're like, okay, great, you did it.
But then the activists have to get up the next day and, and go right back to it. Right? You see what else is, is there, um, To continue making the world better. And obviously you can't write a story that just never ends, but how do you try to represent that in fiction in a way that is realistic?
I think about it a lot. I have a novel which is about that. It's a multi-generational novel and it was explicitly my intent to think about how a movement changes over the generations. It's the same basic movement. It's a, uh, group of people who are terraforming a planet.
The book is called The Terraformers, and each wave of migration to the planet changes the stakes for the people who are the workers there. So the terraformers are basically the workers who are prepping the planet for people to buy the real estate, and then later they're kind of maintaining the planet as cities grow up and, uh, as homelessness becomes a problem and gentrification.
Um, so gentrification in space. Yay. But they are connected. These generations are connected to each other and their struggles are not unrelated.
One of the things I love about storytelling is that it lets you have that big picture where, you know, sometimes you do come around at the beginning of a fight, or in the middle of a fight, and you never know if in the end it turned out that, for example, social media became publicly owned and we no longer had despots controlling our speech.
And, you know, it's satisfying to have a story where you can maybe take a hundred years or a thousand years and say like, this is how it started, this is how it's going, this is how it ended for now.
But I'm always conscious as a writer that if I am writing about politics, it is, this is how it ended for now. As we come to the conclusion of a victory or a loss, we will always, as the title of this anthology I'm working on suggests, we will always rise again. You know, there's always gonna be the next time, the next story.
Now I get it.
Yeah. Actually, I have to say, I'm gonna throw in, um, I'm gonna be like the nine billionth person to talk about how, Andor is a really great series, the Star Wars series Andor, because not only does that series highlight something that you never see in other Star Wars stories, which is how brutal and terrible and difficult it is to prepare, to engage in a political action against the empire.
We see our characters like training and training and training and how tough it is and why each of them is there. Like, one of them is a mercenary, one of them is a true believer, um, you know, , we don't know what all of their motivations are, but they're clearly different. And then they have a victory and then they're still screwed, uh, the main character Andor ends up going to jail for something totally unrelated for another, you know, another regime's petty laws.
And then he's in another, you know, terrible situation caused by the Empire. And I really think that's a great way of telling the truth about victory is that, well, you win one and then you're right back in jail, you have to win the next round.
And I think there's something universal about the press to try to make things better. I mean, I think the good news in all of this is that, like this idea that we wanna live in a better society is deeply embedded in, you know, homo sapiens as we are right now. And so these setbacks matter.
What is the, there's a quote. Everything will turn out all right in the end, and if it's not all right now, it's just not the end. I think that there is a way in which that spark exists regardless of the setbacks and nurturing that and finding the other people who share that spark is the joy of the long-term fight, right?
You know, what's that, that very trite phrase, right? The real, the real victory are the friends we made along the way. I mean, you, you can make that, you can make it silly, but it is actually an important piece. And I think making sure that people see that as a piece. You know, and don't get me wrong, I am a litigator at my heart. I like to win. We do win. To be clear about that.
But I also think there's this other story, which is the long arc toward making things better.
Yeah, I really think that community is so important to this, and sometimes it is true that having a party can be a form of political allyship, a form of political action. I mean, certain communities, like I'm part of the queer community and definitely partying has been part of queer resistance.
And, and the idea of that kind of fun and pleasure as resistance is actually built into almost every social movement that I've been part of, including very wonky political movements.
And I often say the smallest unit of resistance is friendship, because that’s how you build.
I just want to jump in for a moment to say thank you to our sponsor.
“How to Fix the Internet” is supported by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology. Enriching people’s lives through a keener appreciation of our increasingly technological world and portraying the complex humanity of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. So a tip of the hat to them for their assistance.
As I’ve said many times – this podcast is all about trying to fix the internet and envision a world where we get things right. And that requires a lot of hope. So I wanted to talk to Annalee about a term that I love that has been used to describe a lot of their fiction – hopepunk.
The thing about Hope Punk is that it's about representing difficult hope. So to go back to Andor, um, I think, Andor could even be considered hope punk because even though there's a lot of darkness, it also represents victory against colonizers and victory against oppressors. So that's the punk part, right? Is that you acknowledge that things are tough and you acknowledge that one small victory is not the end of oppression.
One element of Andor that you pointed out that I think happens all the time and people don't realize it, is that you win a big battle and then you lose, and you know, the way you described it is you kind of lose to an, a silly law or something in another, in another place, which is what happens. But you lose on technicalities often. And I think it's like, it's super important to show people that.
Yeah. I think that one of the things from EFF's perspective is we end up spending a lot of time in the courts. And one of the things about being in fights in the courtrooms is that there are a set of rules there. And, I often tell computer programmers say that you, you really can't hack the law in the same way you can hack a computer, but you kind of have to bring that mentality, right?
What are the ways in which we can take this legal system, which most of the time was not set up with the idea that it was going to protect us and, and use it to actually protect us or extend rights. And I think there is a way in which you're, you're imagining a future using this particular set of rules.
And trying to bring it into being, uh, with this set of rules that feels a little like, like maybe what you get to do when you write science fiction, cuz you've gotta come up with rules of your societies, right. Of your futures, and then make your change happen within it. Um, I think maybe one of the big differences you don't have like a government attorney on the other side trying to make sure that doesn't happen in the same way that, that sometimes I do.
Yeah, no, I think that's a great analogy. I do think that trying to create good law is a form of world building and it's a way of thinking about the future. Because the point is how do we set up some rules that will hopefully do the most good over time? And that's the thing that I think drives many people nuts about the law is that it is very much ambiguous, even though it purports to be written in stone. So it's like, this is the law. Well, but there's all these interpretations of the law.
But, I think that's the fun in it too.I know many lawyers who enjoy that ambiguity and exploiting the ambiguity, um, for good and for justice and, I have to say that watching EFF in action has been a huge inspiration to me as a writer because I do consult lawyers when I'm writing. They're really good at coming up with like the most horrific possibility, for the future.
So the whole conceit of this podcast is to try to flip that around, and it's in part because I am one of those lawyers who is very good at worst case scenarios. So in your, science fiction future, what is, what does it look like if we don't screw it all up,
Okay. I'm gonna just lawyer with you a little bit, Cindy, and say that it depends, um, because I do think that what's really important as we represent the future is to acknowledge that things are never gonna be perfect, right? We may improve certain areas of our civilization and other areas might become more repressive over time. We always have some good with the bad, but I do think that, you know, my hope for us as a civilization is that, for example, we do figure out some better rules around property. And I think that it is very reasonable to think that we might be able to partly by thinking about things like intellectual property, property in the digital space, that that might change our understanding of how we allocate property in the real world.
And I could imagine a much less hierarchical system. Right now in the States we're dealing with new waves of worker movements, and new, some new consciousness around the problem of homelessness, which I think both touch on physical property, and you know, how many resources people have to just have a reasonably comfortable life, have a roof over their head, have healthcare, have education. These are all in a sense, kind of hinge on property right now. We live in capitalism. So under capitalism you must possess money and property in order to have access to all these things that probably shouldn't require you to have money. So I'm kind of suggesting that we could head toward a more like democratic socialist kind of model where, you know, either a government or a community organization provides these kind of basic needs.
And like I said, I could see this absolutely stretching into the digital world where people have access to information that should be available to everyone.
I love this idea. And in fact, I think of it almost the other way around, which is I think intellectual property, which is, you know, on my list of bad metaphors, gives us, can give us a glimpse of a post scarcity society, right? Because in the digital world, it's really easy to make copies and, and turning monetization on copyright makes no sense in a world in which we have computers that make copies all the time, and make them without cost, right? It's kind of a legacy of a time in which, you know, maybe you had monks who had to write things out, and we don't have that anymore. We have a potential of a post-scarcity world in the digital world in some ways easier than in the physical world.
So my, my thinking about it is that maybe if we can fix it in the digital world where it's a little easier, we can begin to think about how to leverage the ideas of post scarcity in the physical world as well. Because I think that scarcity is overrated in the physical world as well, but it's definitely artificial in a lot of the digital world.
It's artificial in the real world too. Um, I mean it's, you know, a lot of the, um, famines that we've had in the last 200 years were artificially created. There was no, um, need to have any of those famines, including the famous Irish potato famine, which was created [00:22:00] by British colonial systems of agriculture.
And so I think, you know, it's funny because I often push back against this idea that the digital world is post scarcity, because of course, all of this digital stuff lives in physical places. Um, you know, Amazon Web Services doesn't exist in heaven. Um, you know, it, it like lives on –
There's not an actual cloud.
I know! One of my old bosses, like back in the year 2000, really did think it was that there was a thing up floating in the air that, um, is where the internet lived.
So it doesn't, right, and I think that's why, for example, thinking about people who work at Amazon who are not coders, but who are the people handling, you know, either their fulfillment stuff or handling their server farms. It's important to think about that stuff and, and also the impact on the environment.
And that's why I think that environmental issues and issues in the digital world actually are deeply interconnected. Because of course, all of the stuff we love on the internet, all of the stuff we love in our smart cities, and it with our devices, our phones, which we love, um, all of that impacts the environment.
You know, it creates e-waste or it creates, um, or in the human world, it creates, you know, horrific slave like conditions for workers. So all of these things fit together, and I think if we're trying to imagine. a more just world where more, and when I say a more just world, literally all I mean is a world where every single person who is born is going to be guaranteed A place to live doesn't have to be a fancy place, just a safe, clean place to live.
And healthcare and education and like, you know, a few other amenities like, like [00:24:00] ability to get around, you know, some kind of transit, whether it's roads or flying beetle cars or whatever the heck we have in the future. I think to get to that point where everyone has access to what I, what is really ultimately a very humble set of, um, assets. Um, I think we have to be considering the fact that we won't reach a post scarcity world. Like we're always gonna have scarcity, but we can, because we're smart monkeys, we can allocate the limited resources we have in a wise and, and equitable way.
Oh I really like that. And I, I appreciate you grounding my, you know, my sky dreams of post scarcity and the reality of where this stuff comes from. I really appreciate it. But you know what, I hear you, what I hear you doing is articulating the two international human rights treaties, right?
The International Covenant and Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on economic, social, and cultural rights. It turns out we don't have to make up what we think these basic things are. We can, and it's fun. Um, but, but we, we've had these, these ideas in, you know, enmeshed in a form of international law since the post World War Two generation. So they're not new.
Yeah, basically, and that's why I say it's, it's not, I'm not asking for something like, futuristic or weird or something that no one has ever imagined before. I mean, it's just, it's a very humble goal.
I think it's interesting that your imaginative future to answer Cindy's question was so, um, I don't wanna say mundane, but so reasonable. it actually just seems quite, um, quite frankly, very achievable. I wonder how you, in your science fiction, try to use those, the fact that you can write about whatever you want to try to get us to those... You know, to convince people that we can have these more basic things. Is that a thing you're thinking about when you're writing, like kind of all the time, or is it more of a, in this book I'm focusing on X kind of thing?
Um, I definitely, of course each book is going to be, each book is focused on a slightly different aspect of the project of giving people this humble amount of safety that they deserve, But I do think a lot about what we've been discussing here about how story gives us the, the access to seeing how a struggle that might last for generations.
How that struggle plays out over, over time and how it's resolved. you know, I come at it from a lot of different angles. One of the big weapons in any writer's arsenal is helping readers identify with people that they might not ever meet and who maybe they never thought of as human before. And you know, who they might have thought of as bad guys or as disgusting, terrible people that didn't deserve anything. And so, because I am a science fiction writer, I use robots and non-human animals to talk about how we relate to each other, because oftentimes humans do treat each other like non-humans and use that as an excuse to demonize each other.
And in my new novel, the Terraformers, there's a number of characters who are non-human animals. It's a far future world, so everything is genetically engineered from plants to people.
So there's a lot of people who are like moose. And, uh, there are, there are some people who are octopuses, but they don't show up in the story. But there are people who are cows, there's people who are naked molerats, there's people who are spaceships, there's people who are public transit. Um, one of the major characters is a train because I love public transit, I've spent a lot of time sitting in public transit wondering what the train is thinking about all the nonsense going on. And I, I feel like it's actually very helpful to think about the world almost animalistically in order to get people just thinking about each other, you know, to be thinking about like, oh, what does it mean to be a community?
What are the people we need to think about when we're planning our future, when we're imagining how we allocate property or what property law is. And it helps to be thinking about, oh, we actually do need to allocate money for public transit. And if there's a character who is public transit, then suddenly it becomes more real because it's like that, that character can talk back and say like, hello, I need some resources here people. So that is one way, and it sounds a bit like a fairytale. And there's a reason why fairy tales are used as educational tools, right? Because it's a way of helping us think about what we wanna do with our communities, and with our lives.
So that is one way. And I think the main, um, Kind of critical response I've gotten to my writing has been that my villains are often not very well filled in like that. I have villains, I have antagonists, but I don't investigate how they feel. I don't follow them around and like give people a sense of what it's like to live in a gleaming space castle, where you can oppress like millions of workers throughout the galaxy. Cuz I just don't give a fuck. Like, I really don't care about what those people think. Like I know they've probably got some weird justification in their head for what they're doing, but I am interested in what the people are doing who are resisting and who are forming communities to have a more just world.
I know there's a lot of writers out there who love to write villains, and I do love me a good redemption arc for sure. Like, that's different , because that's when they become good guys. Um, but otherwise I just, I, I only really wanna know how to lead a decent, humble life while also fighting for justice
Yeah. I like that. I do think there's such an important space there, right? I feel like as a whole society, we are all watching every word of some of these kind of very scary, evil people. And, um, I, I do worry. I think it takes us away from the positive building of the things we need to build it. It kind of goes back to what Jason said about how it's kind of hard to get attention when we win, because when we're fighting for our lives is when the attention comes.
Yeah, I wanna emphasize when I say that I don't care about investigating the mind of a villain. I don't care how they justify themselves. I do care about our defensive response to them. It's not that I'm saying, oh, don't pay attention to what the big bad is doing, whether it's Elon Musk or some futuristic villain. It's, but I wanna pay attention to how we are defending against them, which does, to a certain extent, mean thinking about exactly what we were discussing earlier with the law.
Like how would a bad guy find a loophole in this law that we're trying to make? Or how would a bad guy get around this policy that's intended to protect privacy? You know, so we have to always have that kind of hacker frame of mind of like, how would you break this thing?
We've had some really great guests give us really good recommendations for things. We had Deji Olukotun on before and um, he gave us great ideas for books to read. And I'm wondering if you have, we've talked about Andor, but if you have other suggestions for science fiction or speculative fiction that's kind of envisioning a better world.
Oh, that's a good question. Let's see. This is always the hard question. I mean, I'm a big fan of, um, stories that don't hide the difficulty behind, you know, building a better world. So I don't necessarily… You know, these might not be happy stories. But of course I love, um, NK Jemison’'s Broken Earth trilogy, which is set on, I, my theory is that it's set on a far future earth. I don't know if she's actually confirmed that that's true. But it is about, uh, generational struggle against, um, oppression and against, um, an, a very unstable environment on the planet. So it kind of connects together some of the stuff we've been talking about where there's, um, an information component to the oppression, and there's like an actual physical environmental problem that's happening.
If you're interested in representations of a better world, Becky Chambers has two new novelas, which I'm sure you've heard about. Um, the first one is, um, a Psalm for the Wild-Built. The second one is A Prayer for the Crown Shy. And they're about imagining kind of a little bit what we've been talking about, the sort of humbleness of, um, living in an equitable world, and yet it's full of, um, indulgences and delights and parties, but it's, you know, nobody again, nobody really has a castle.
I just finished reading, um, Rebecca Roanhorse's, duology, which is Black Sun and Fevered Star, and they're about, they're like a fantasy secondary world about warfare in the Americas. It's basically the Americas and it's sort of, um, medieval phase, uh, Indigenous culture when you have like the great cities of the Mayans and, uh, you have Kohokia here up in the northern part of the country and, uh, everybody's flying around on, um, giant birds and serpents and, uh, it's interesting because, uh, Rebecca Roanhorse, who is Indigenous and plays a lot with indigenous mythology and storytelling in her work, um, she's showing how, uh, even in a world without white settlers, there's still colonization going on and that there's this whole battle around who gets to occupy which areas and certain, uh, groups are trying to decolonize their land. Um, and so, uh, it just goes into my general feeling that human civilization is colonizers all the way down and that the problems of imperialism are gonna haunt us for a really long time.
And when I say imperialism, I also mean things like digital hoarding too, like certain corporations laying claim to massive, massive amounts of stories, of media, of so-called intellectual property. And then not allowing us to have access to our own history and our own culture unless we pay for it. That's a form of colonization and it's very real. And a lot of us are suffering from it, or trying to get around it through piracy of various kinds.
And - oh that reminds me, Our Flag Means Death. A great tale of piracy. A wonderful show that everyone should watch, which is also quite fantastical, and is about a world where pirates are really just trying to have a party and be left alone and lead their pirate life and fight against the evil British.
Oh, that's great. That's great. I appreciate that you can, you know, help us figure out what's worthy. I so appreciate the, you know, all the work that you do in kind of screening through all of the stuff to find the good stuff for us. Panning for gold.
Well, I appreciate the work that you guys are doing to protect my ability to be free online and have some privacy and be able to speak my mind. It’s so valuable.
I don't know how many more of these conversations I can have because I come away with so many recommendations that I'm gonna run out of time. But that was, that was a wonderful conversation. And I'm wondering if you, Cindy, had a particular like ‘wow’ moment when we were talking to Annalee that you're going to share with other people because I, I certainly had several.
The thing that I'm gonna take away is the grounding of the fact that on the back end of a post-scarcity internet of a cloud kind of idea, or multiple copies is another scarcity world where there are workers and computers and environmental resources that being used in order to create, you know, this world in which we can copy freely and making sure that we think about the whole scope of things, not just the middle part where we can make copying easier, but the labor and environmental and energy backend that makes all of that possible.
Absolutely. I was surprised that I hadn't thought of that recently. It comes up occasionally, but the 90s idea of what the internet is and is capable of, I think often forgets that it is still built by people. And I think that it's good to come away from, you know, from those kind of misconceptions.
I do appreciate that Annalee is trying to capture some of that, right? The workers who are terraforming the robots who are doing things, that these are the people who are building, the resources that rest of us need and recognizing that there is, there's a whole bunch of stories there. Not just the story of people using the technology, but the story of the people who are creating the conditions in which we can use technology, that those matter too. And they matter a lot.
Well that’s it for this episode of How to Fix the Internet.
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Our theme music is by Nat Keefe of BeatMower with Reed Mathis
And How to Fix the Internet is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's program in public understanding of science and technology.
We’ll see you next time in two weeks for the next episode.
I’m Jason Kelley.
And I’m Cindy Cohn.
CC MUSIC CREDITS
This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by its creators
Come Inside by Zep Hurme featuring snowflake
Smokey Eyes by Stefan Kartenberg featuring KidJazz
Probably Shouldn’t by J.Lang featuring Mr_Yesterday
CommonGround by airtone featuring simonlittlefield
Additional beds and alternate theme remixes by Gaëtan Harris