“Don’t be evil”

It’s been so long since I came into the backend of my blog that I had to actually log in.

I rarely log into anything, I just tell my computer “remember me” at every opportunity and leave it at that. This, in conjunction with my propensity for using Chrome (and logging in) on every device I can get my hands on, probably means that Google knows far too much about me.

I’ve been busy re-reading Ender’s Game and its sequels, now that I have completed my 50-book challenge and I’m allowed to re-read if I feel like it. This will link together shortly, I promise. The more obvious sequels start with Ender’s Shadow – a re-telling from a different perspective (a trope that I love). The sequels that actually follow Ender himself are a little odder – separated by 3,000 years of history for a start. One of my favourite concepts in all of sci-fi is outlined here. The hierarchy of foreignness describes how “alien” another being is. An Utlanning is someone who is the same species as you, but from a different part of the same planet. A Framling is of the same species as you but a different planet A Raman is of a different species, but with whom you can communicate (and therefore negotiate). A Varelse is a sentient being who is so different in mind or morality or in how it communicates that it is not possible to live in peace.

A sentient computer program features, and tries to figure out if it (he/she/word denoting person of no gender?) is raman or varelse. She has all the power that a non-physical being could ever have (lots, and she can control plenty of physical objects) but chooses not to “be evil” because there’s no benefit in it for her.

Which brings me to this XKCD comic.

Google know lots about me. So do Tesco Clubcard. But at least Tesco Clubcard have a plan in mind – try to get me to spend more money at Tesco. Google could be evil, but are they really going to bother?

After all this reading I didn’t actually get around to seeing Ender’s Game in the cinema. I hear it wasn’t great, but I’ll probably catch it when it’s on DVD. Harrison Ford in space!

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