Roland Dürre
Thursday August 26th, 2010

Fear of Google

Now it is again spreading all over Germany, the fear of Google. The word of the day is Street View. After all, if it comes everybody can see everybody else’s luxury mansion in the internet. I read a lot of arguments about how street view will violate the private sphere.

🙂 And in every discussion, you hear about bordello frequenters. To be sure, their faces will not be recognisable, but their clothes and gestures make them easy to identify. What a disaster!

And it will get easier and easier for thieves to plan the layout of their thefts. Not to mention that you can even make out the colour of your kitchen curtains …

I do not fear street view. Admittedly, the internet will bring plenty of change. But I think it is still quite as impossible now as it used to be to even imagine all the possible consequences. It makes me remember what it was like when the first automobiles were introduced. When the cars conquered all the (not even existing) streets, everybody was opposed to the idea. Farmers demonstrated with pitchforks against those devil’s coaches. And all kinds of associations were formed in order to prevent those smelly and noisy means of individualized transport from happening.

But they came regardless – and with a vengeance. There is no doubt that they caused massive damage. It might have been possible to limit the damage if the new technology had been accepted and controlled in a pro-active way from the outset, rather than demonizing it. Some excesses might probably have been prevented.

However, since the automobile technology was rejected with ignorance, it emancipated itself and rolled over us in the truest sense of the word. Driving a car became the epitome of freedom, the first drivers of cars were called pioneers of progress. Thus, the technology quickly found its way, regardless of all resistance. And it was no longer possible to control the predictable development and the explosion of individualized traffic.

But this intermediate step “individualized traffic based on the combustion motor” was a necessary part of the way towards an infra-structure based on electricity. And that is what we need for a modern society with all the comforts I no longer want to do without. The detour through steam engine and combustion motor was necessary in order to create an “electrical society”.

When the classical cars disappear, they will have dominated our world for a little more than a century. But what is a century in the face of evolution? It seems that we repeat the mistakes we made a hundred years ago. We demonize a new technology and demonstrate against it with “pitchforks”. We come up with strange or absurd data protection laws and motivate people to protest against them. The current artificial and partly hypocritical resistance will be swept aside, just as the car honked away all its opponents.

But cars, too, face their exodus, even if they currently celebrate their last great success in countries that were still called developing countries a few years back. There is a comfort for many upset people who are now terrified by Google and mostly without being knowledgeable at all about the internet endlessly babbling and fluttering all over the place: the “Google-Empire” will not last a hundred years as did Daimler, Ford, VW and Co. I am absolutely sure about that!

(Translated by EG)

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