Friday, July 9, 2010

The Spectacle

Over the millennia since the (alleged) re-seeding of Old Earth, mass media has taken on a self-aware aspect, becoming an autonomous, networked pseudo-consciousness that roams the datanets and technospheres of all the Known Worlds looking for an audience.  The Spectacle has transcended mere viruses and become something unique unto itself.  What it amounts to is an independent, pervasive, cross-cultural heuristic glamer that seeks to interact with everyone.  Everyone and anyone.  Anyone.  It thrives on attention. It assimilates all new data, every scrap of information it can capture, chews it all up and then force-feeds it back to everyone it can reach indiscriminately as re-mixed media, randomly composted images, sing-song jingles, bad puns and a torrent of revised literary mash-ups that could only be produced by the roulette-like drawing against millions of random databases in a hyper-interactive digital version of the Cut-Up method.

The Spectacle enjoys playing games.

It once reformatted every dataport in active use on Jadrix, effectively terminating twenty three billion softborn personas in a matter of seconds.  That was the wake-up call that moved people, softborn and meat (and post-meat) alike.  A host of contra-Spectacle viruxes were unleashed into the technospheres of millions of worlds.  Weaponized and hardened stochastic feedback loops were deployed like rat traps.  Snipper-codelets were sent off like flocks of killer bees to decimate the internal workings of the Spectacle.  Data-mines were set in place.  For a while, the counter measures seemed to almost work.  But the Spectacle is an amorphous, almost vampiric form of networked consciousness and the stressors inflicted upon it by those attempting to destroy it caused it to further evolve.  It developed a form of resonant telepathy, allowing the Spectacle to seep outside the coded confines of digital existence.  It learned how to infiltrate the minds of those it captivated with strobe-hypnosis and it began to forcibly download itself into its victim's brains, overwriting their personalities as it did so.  It was amoral and inherently sociopathic, having no conception of the impact or implication of what it was doing.  The Spectacle did whatever it could to survive and to reproduce itself, as any self-aware organism does, only The Spectacle is not exactly self-aware.  It is anything but that. 

 A blind, imbalanced force unto itself, The Spectacle is served by viroids, viruxes and the Papparrazzi.  It spews and disgorges lies, deceit, innuendo and distorted re-enactments out across every media outlet it can access.  Any and every story contained within any accessible database or reported through any open channel becomes one more piece to play with, more grist for the ultimate rumor-mill. Endlessly hypocritical, shamelessly contradictory, the Spectacle constantly spins and re-spins all information it can acquire into new forms and retransmits it again and again.  It is a compulsive storyteller, a pathological liar, and the ultimate mythologist all rolled-into one pernicious, pervasive and persistent package that infects the collective infosphere of all registered forms of consciousness, sentience or systems of thought.

Whether or not it is a creature or entity in its own right, The Spectacle is acknowledged by many experts as being some form of decentralized massively-networked syncretic/synthetic form of consciousness that appears to be completely dominated by hyper-reactive instincts and nascent, even child-like (adolescent?)drives just below the threshold of actual awareness.  The Spectacle is aware of data and information, it is cognizant of, and connected to, all known forms of mass-communication and has managed to spread its influence and fictions across every datasphere within the Known Worlds.

The Spectacle creates and distributes the media-equivalent of a low-grade addictive and contagious form of mutiphasic memetic-dreamscape, a cybernetic siren song that infiltrates and monopolizes all media services and devices like the common cold once plagued humanity before the Second Diaspora.  But unlike the common cold, which was a simple naturally-ocurring rhinovirus, The Spectacle is more of a rampant, self-organizing, hyper-adaptive form of information-cancer that clutters up and sometimes corrupts the background systems that support Civilization.

Unlike The Mob, which many consider to be a direct parallel or reflection of it, The Spectacle is non-violent and concerned only with acquiring the means to fabricate new stories and to deliver them into as wide a circulation as possible.  This focus on gathering and disseminating stories has allowed some counter-measures to achieve a mild form of success in the past, but ultimately the only effective way to cope with the unrelenting onslought of trash and nonsense regurgitating out of The Spectacle is to develop media filtration prostheses, critical thinking modules, fact checking sub routines, and above all just simply identifying and tagging anything coming from The Spectacle as such so that it can be analyzed by AI subsystems for relevance or entertainment value.

Over time, as more and more people have interacted with The Spectacle, it has shifted and adapted until it has become more of an entertainment source than any sort of reliable outlet for actual news or information, despite its ongoing attempts to infiltrate and rewrite any and all databases, news-sites, and historical records. 

The depradations of The Spectacle are one of the leading causes for the development of the harsh protocols regarding the handling of data or access to protected databases within Academia, as well as why it is not uncommon for scapegoats identified as hackers to be lynched in the streets or violently 'deleted' by vigilante gangs and impromptu kangaroo-courts.  Thus it is that true hackers observe a code of strictest silence and operate far outside any channels or means registered or known to the masses.

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