Gardner Dozois, the science fiction editor, once said that the job of a science fiction writer is to consider the car and the movie theatre and invent the drive-in and then go on to predict the sexual revolution. But what he missed was that before the car and before the sexual revolution and before that need for every teenager to get a car in order to get laid there was no reason for people who were civilians in America to carry photo ID. And so the database nation has its origin in the car too. The production and widespread use of government issued identification is really the story of the car. So some of us are talking about drive-ins and a few of us are talking about sexual revolutions and some of us are talking about the database nation. But when you think about all the things that come out of the database nation, nobody is talking about those fourth- and fifth-order effects of the internet. I imagine in a hundred years our descendants will look back at us and say: you thought that the major impact of the internet was this, that and the other and you missed this entirely different thing that was way weirder and more interesting.
“Cory Doctorow in an interview with Kaja Scheliga and Theresa Züger” at