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Basic digital autonomy


(Alan Grimes) #1

In a few hours I’m going to my father’s house. Microsoft installed windows 10 on his computer without his permission. I will be attempting to roll it back to windows 7. The machine is 8 years old, he is 72 years old.

The question is why isn’t there a class action lawsuit and a federal investigation about this? This is really serious. The issue is whether regular human beings are to be allowed to own computers and dictate what software runs on them. Seriously! Even luddites like me look forward to augmenting my mind with plug-in modules (details beyond scope of current post). I require that these module be entirely under my control, that they be made to operate to my specifications and parameters, and that there be the strongest possible legal protections for maintaining that autonomy.

The battle for that autonomy is going on now. The battleground is the Windows 10 forced upgrade, which Microsoft must be made to pay the dearest price for. =| Seriously, why are people being so passive about this? =(


Humans are going to auto-transcend by default due to social pressure
(Michael Hrenka) #2

If we had a functioning free market for this kind of software, this issue would be resolved by people stopping the use Microsoft software, and instead using one of the many compatible products that are abundantly available. Sadly, we don’t have a functioning free market here, because when it comes to operating systems, the market is clearly an oligopoly. I mean, we could blame people for using Microsoft software, but in an ecosystem in which so many applications are specifically made for Windows only, and people really want to use those applications, blaming the users is really inappropriate.

Ideally, our software would be extremely independent from the underlying operating system. That would require the creation of certain standards, so that standards-compatible software could be run on any standards-compatible OS. Then we could have meaningful and fair competition between different OSs again. That is, if OS and software creators made an effort to make their products standard-compatible – which due to economic incentives, they would probably only do, if they really had to.

So, the market needs to be regulated one way or another, either for enabling meaningful competition and interoperability, or to regulate the practices that market dominating enterprises are allowed to use. This is certainly an important issue, especially due to

This leaves us with the conclusion that a positive transhuman future depends on intelligent government regulation of software companies – unless we humans got our shit together in another way, which I deem quite unlikely for the next 100 years. Clearly, this demonstrates the necessity of transhumanist parties fighting for the rights of consumers, which need to be protected against the selfish interests of certain corporations.

My guess is that it’s not clear what to do against this problem exactly. And it seems to be a problem that doesn’t surpass the pain threshold for justifying massive political action.