Monday, August 31, 2009

The Confickers

Conficker sounds like the new neighbors with the funny name who’ve moved into the co-op and who generate unsubstantiated rumors that turn out not to be true. Conficker is not a neighbor you would ever want to have. In fact, it’s the neighbor from hell stealing your files, using your credit card, and leaving a path of destruction and carnage in its path.

Remember tattling on a bully and then paying for it? That’s what recently happened when the military industrial complex went to war with Conficker (New York Times, Aug. 27). They were like a boxer who leaves a fatal opening. Conficker got the KO.

Who or what is Conficker? Is he a latter day Kropotkin? Is he Raskolnikov or Meursault, murdering gratuitously to exemplify the meaninglessness and futility of human reason? Is it an attack on the anthropocentrism inherent in the notion of technological progress, a demonstration of how the objects of man’s creation can and will someday control him? Are Conficker’s tactics didactic? Is it a technological Luddite leading an attack of cybernetic implosion? Is Conficker a Robin Hood, or a two-bit hood? Instead of robbing a bank with a mask and a gun, Conficker destroys the locks and alarms and puts the central nervous system to sleep. Then he just walks in and loots the safe.

Every age has its battle between the forces of darkness and light. Religious wars and inquisitions morph into the battle between freedom fighters and totalitarian epigones. However, the latest battle between good and evil is an enormous computer game being waged in virtual realities that turn out to be real. Grown-up kids are now doing battle over the ultimate form of globalization—the world of the computer generated economy.

But who will star in the movie? Who will play the Riddler? Or perhaps Conficker is not a man, but a self-reflexive consciousness born of orphaned bites of mutant information, viruses begetting other viruses and forming indestructible new agents immune to all antidotes. Maybe there’s no starring role for any man or woman. Perhaps the whole battle takes place online in a specially created social network. But there still has to be a voiceover. Jack Nicholson should reprise his role from The Shining.

Who better to narrate the waking nightmare?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.