Ebocloud by Rick Moss was definitely one of my favorite reads throughout this semester. It produced the idea of a world where a social, humanitarian network develops humans into group-minded, common goal-oriented tribes. This has a lot of ethical implications such as weighing the “greater good” over individuality. In the book where Ellie poses the question, “Are we talking about selfishness or individuality?” (Moss 195). Desalt argued that there really wasn’t a difference, “devoting yourself fully to the common good, you lose your self… [one] would argue that is a good thing” (Moss 195). The sorts of ethical questions that can evolve from a vision like this is what made this story so engaging. To think about how selfishness and individuality as intertwined characteristics removes the option of trying to remove only the one aspect of “bad” from human nature. Therefore, what comes with selfishness are important factors that make life rewarding and achievement-driven.
This ties back to Doug’s ultimate worry that “when we add something this big into our lives, we’re going to give up something equally big” (Moss 342). As shown later in the plot, the use of applications that control and allow for fluidity and complete sync within ebo tribes, enables a clear lost of authenticity and originality. The example of the how the Firewheels ebo tribe was able to orchestrate music through simple tools and objects was astonishing. However, thinking about it in retrospect, it is not that exciting because it was all controlled and this was not really a major achievement of skill and dedication, but rather of people being manipulated by one technology. The merit of personal achievement is not really there, and as we discussed class, how can people be distinguished by their skills if eventually this form of technology converges everyone into an equal field of skills and abilities?
The concept of the Ebocloud is fantastic from a broader overview, but it is easy to lose sight of the downfalls that come with such revolutionary technology. The book ended with the Ebocloud project moving forward as the entire group of main characters decide that it is for the best interest of society to cover up the past, and that the Ebocloud was bigger than them and all they had endured. It reveals how easy it is for technology to take control of the characters without them realizing it. Eli was not involved with Ebo until after the investigations and fires began, but by the end of the story he basically surrendered to the resolve that the deaths of few were not enough to stop the progression of a technology that truly was the root of the deaths. This ending along with other powerful scenes from when the Ebocloud was temporary down, “people [were] really freaked – pouring out into the streets like there’s been an earthquake”, really rattled me (Moss 385). The dangers behind these revolutionary technologies are how humans evolve dependencies on these technologies, which turn into submissive natures.
Moss, Rick. Ebocloud. New Orleans: Aquieous, 2013. Print.