State of the World

It’s a comforting New Year ritual for me to read along with Bruce Sterling’s* annual State of the World discussion at the WELL.

This year is slightly more predictable than most because the obvious topics are so hard to avoid:

I had it figured that a failed coup would surely be followed by some kind of purge, but I didn’t get it that it would come from a united front of Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Youtube, Reddit, Twitch, Discord and Shopify….
Somebody – who?– got all these tech players on the same page and launched a simultaneous attack without a single rumor leaking beforehand.

But there is at least some of his usual attention to the rest of the world:

Prime Minister Modi, head honcho of India, has become the most attentive pupil of Xi Jinping of China. Modi is much impressed by Xi’s autocratic success, so Modi has become an adept China mimic: he numbers all the citizenry in the Aadhaar databank, he turns Kashmir into Xinjiang with all kinds of surveillance heavy-manners and Internet controls, he turns his BJP Party into Chinese-style party cadres, he cultivates his own Chinese-style cult-of-personality – step by step, Modi is constructing a Modi-centric Indian government that is “Chinese technocracy with Indian characteristics.”

(*) and other people, but Sterling is the main reason I keep coming back.

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