Lit 80, Fall 2013
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Ebocloud Novel Response

November 18th, 2013 | Posted by Zhan Wu in Uncategorized

At the dawn of the 21st century, the advancement of the internet has resulted in the emergence of social network media such as Facebook and Twitter, which successfully served as an interactive and communicative platform for millions of internet users. Rick Moss, in his novel Ebocloud [1], boldly explores futuristic possibilities of social media development and the its potential consequences and societal implications.

The novel Ebocloud assumes that all future social media outlets have been amalgamated into a single entity, or so-called “social singularity” if you will. This singularity, named Ebocloud itself, utilizes an altruism-reciprocation award system to encourage the forming of extremely close online communities. The system works in that if someone registers as a new ebocloud user, he/she will be automatically and randomly assigned to an “ebo-family”, with family members called ebocousins, and receive reward points, named “kar-merits”, for helping them in times of need. This idea might sound innocent and positive at first, but ultimately has to be more deeply scrutinized to truly interpret its inner, more abysmal meanings.

The story’s plot follows Ellison Luber, a NY artist, who is trying solve the mystery of his girlfriend’s attempt to kill him by setting his apartment on fire, and who enlists several of his ebocousins to help him out. During the ongoing story, the narrative goes deeper into the Ebocloud relationship system and questions how this omniscient medium created for humanitarian and utopian purposes might have a darker and sinister side to it. Ellisons quest for solving the mystery of a possible case of pre-planned murder eventually refolds into a adventure for understanding the “powers and promises” [2] of Ebocloud.

Rick Moss’s idea about Ebocloud is certainly extremely intriguing and not so far-fetched from reality given the numbers of social network websites nowadays. Ebocloud, by providing rewards for each ebocousin by helping other ebocousins, virtually applies the model of reciprocal altruism, formulated by behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner in the twentieth century. The constant application of this psychological approach can lead to close-knit communities with extremely intimate ties and opinions (i.e. each ebocousin regards the other as a well-known and trusted friend, if not family). Ebocloud, therefore, attempts to form a so-called “collective consciousness” by gathering massive amounts of people and creating tribal identities within each ebo-family.

The power of Ebocloud is not overstressed if it has the ability to truly assimilate every human being, or most people for that matter, into its cloud system. In fact, the powers of a single collective community is most often portrayed in modern science fiction movies, such Star Trek and Aliens. In Star Trek, for instance, human’s most bitter enemy, the Borg, are all controlled by a single mind, the Borg Queen. All the different physical Borg entities are thus psychologically bonded together. The idea  that everything can merge into a single entity, is scary for most people, yet in this era of high technological advancement this prediction of a possible future should be seriously discussed. What would happen to privacy if we all shared an extremely close space with each other? What can be done to prevent this technology from falling into the wrong hands? These ethical questions and many more should be comprehensively considered even before the appearance of such technology.

 

Sources:

[1] Ebocloudhttp://www.ebocloud.com/. Accessed Nov. 17, 2013.

[2] Ebocloud, A Novel About Social Singularityhttp://singularityhub.com/2011/02/07/ebocloud-a-novel-about-the-social-singularity/. Accessed Nov. 17, 2013.

 

 

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