Technoscience / Ecomateriality / Literature

Ebocloud Novel Response

November 7th, 2014 | Posted by David Builes in Uncategorized

In his novel Ebocloud, Rick Moss explores the possibility of what is called a social singularity. In his interview with Michael Anissimov, Rick Moss says that the primary condition that is needed for a social singularity to occur is that “human minds—and a lot of them—will need to be networked to a very powerful computer network (let’s call it a cloud, since that’s the configuration of choice these days), presumably by way of brain computer interfaces, or BCIs.” The particular BCI that is used in Ebocloud, the dToo, is a digital tattoo placed on the users wrist and is introduced by the character Camilla in Chapter 16, Part II of the novel. Camila says, “the dToo will be a connection between your world – the world inside you – and the ebocloud online world.” In explaining what the dToo will do, perhaps the most frightening aspect Camilla introduces is what is called “Mood-ulation”, which is the dToo’s ability to modify the user’s mood using neurotransmitters like acetylcholine.

One of the primary questions to ask of a social singularity, of course, is “is it a good thing?” Here, Rick Moss develops both sides of the story through characters like Ellie and Radu. Throughout the book, Ellie is portrayed as the character that has reservations about Ebocloud. For example, in conversations with his friend Jared in Part I he worries that Ebocloud will infringe on humanity’s primary social unit – the family. He also worries that the Ebocloud will take away a person’s individuality. On the other hand, Radu is characterized as a technological genius with both sound philosophical and scientific reasons for thinking that the social singularity will be a good thing for humanity. We get a first glimpse of Radu’s ideas in Chapter 10 Part II. Here, he advocates that the philosophical reason why a social singularity will be beneficial is because it will be used to promote the General Will (a term introduced by Jean-Jacques Rousseau) of everyone. Scientifically, he believes that he can finally reduce the immensely complex social structures developed by human beings to a manageable, predictable science because of all of the data that the Ebocloud will track.

Ultimately, I think it is an extremely delicate manner and the result can go both ways. I think it is uncontroversial that if the social singularity does happen, it will radically change all of our lives in many ways that are probably unforeseeable. However, I tend to be less pessimistic than Ellie was. I think that if it is handled correctly, a social singularity has the capacity to enrich all of our lives in very profound ways.

Works Cited

Moss, Rick. “Dialog: Author Rick Moss and Michael Anissimov on the “social singularity”” Ebocloud The Novel by Rick Moss. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2014.

Moss, Rick. Ebocloud. New Orleans: Aqueous, 2013. Print.

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