mandag 4. mai 2009

- Is Google God?

Time: "In "JPod" you compare Google to God, why?"

Douglas Coupland: "Not so much Google itself, but the way you feel after using it really intensely for a long time. Suddenly you know the answer to everything."

Douglas Coupland er forøvrig forfatteren som i 1991 skrev "Generation X" og ga navn til oss i den ironiske generasjonen som er født på 60- og 70-tallet, og som ikke er noe av det 68-generasjonen var. Sitatet er fra dette intervjuet med Time Magazine i 2006 der Coupland filosoferer over Googles evne til å gi oss svar på alt i verden.

Spørsmålet om Google er Gud var for øvrig stilt en gang tidligere, av Thomas Friedman (ja da, han med "The World is Flat") i New York Times allerede i 2003:

"Says Alan Cohen, a V.P. of Airespace, a new Wi-Fi provider: ''If I can operate Google, I can find anything. And with wireless, it means I will be able to find anything, anywhere, anytime. Which is why I say that Google, combined with Wi-Fi, is a little bit like God. God is wireless, God is everywhere and God sees and knows everything. Throughout history, people connected to God without wires. Now, for many questions in the world, you ask Google, and increasingly, you can do it without wires, too.''

Noen har derfor funnet ut at det er behov for å ta det hele enda et skritt videre og har lansert "The Church of Google". Der kan man blant annet finne de ni bevisene på at Google er guddommelig. Og man kan lese De ti Google-bud

Nå er ikke dette første gang i it-historien at en er så overveldet av software at en tyr til religiøse metaforer. Den mest kjente stod forfatteren Umberto Eco for da han i 1994 i sin spalte i det italienske tidsskriftet Espresso slo fast at det pågår en religionskrig der Macintosh er katolsk og Microsoft DOS er protestantisk.

"The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the ratio studiorum of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory; it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach -- if not the kingdom of Heaven -- the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: The essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation.

DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic. It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can achieve salvation. To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself: Far away from the baroque community of revelers, the user is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment. You may object that, with the passage to Windows, the DOS universe has come to resemble more closely the counter-reformist tolerance of the Macintosh. 

It's true: Windows represents an Anglican-style schism, big ceremonies in the cathedral, but there is always the possibility of a return to DOS to change things in accordance with bizarre decisions: When it comes down to it, you can decide to ordain women and gays if you want to."