Coincidentally, Nesta’s FutureFest event this month takes place the same week that Technobiophilia comes out, so I’m really pleased that Pat Kane has invited me to contribute to the Futurefest Sci-Fi Writers’ Parliament chaired by Robin Ince on Sunday morning, 29th September. Cory Doctorow, Ken McLeod, Pat Cadigan, Roz Kaveney, Charles Stross and I will pitch our ideas and put them to the public vote. I’ll be proposing something along these lines:
Way back in 1996, Grateful Dead lyricist and internet advocate John Perry Barlow issued a Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. He believed that even though we consent to the right of governments to rule over our bodies, our virtual selves should be immune to their sovereignty. Cyberspace, he declared, is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live. However, in the intervening years we’ve learned that he was wrong. Today, the internet encompasses all the countries on our planet like a giant snow-globe, and we all live inside it, the digital and the physical increasingly all mixed up. However, we did create today’s digital world and now we have to look after it. This work is already being done by organisations like the World Wide Web Consortium directed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee but we need more legislation too. For example, the mission of the UK’s Environment Agency is to create a better place and it’s time to recognise that virtual space should be part of that process. I propose a Global Environmental Protection Act for Cyberspace to make sure that the internet continues to develop and thrive as an open, diverse, and sustainable ecology.
That will be my pitch. If you’re coming to FutureFest, please pop in and join the debate.
Tomorrow I’ll finish this week’s blogging by sharing the pretty eclectic bibliography behind Technobiophilia.