Tech Is Charlie, Hackers Are Charlie
Yesterday a terrorist attack in Paris took the lives of at least twelve persons, including many journalists and cartoonists of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, “guilty” of informing and entertaining the public.
The disgusting attack against freedom of thought and the free press has been universally condemned, and it may seem unnecessary for a tech magazine to add its voice to the global outrage.
Je Suis Charlie
Science and technology advance with free information, free inquiry, and free dissent. In a healthy society that can provide a fertile ground for science and the development of new technologies, everyone must be free to express their dissent by whatever non-violent means, including satire.
History shows that important scientific advances, paradigm shifts, and revolutionary new technologies are often developed by free spirits who don’t respect authority, question everything, and aren’t afraid to throw stones at sacred cows. It can be argued that the success of the Western civilization, as far as scientific and technical progress is concerned, started with society’s reaction against the secular power of the Church. The Inquisition burned Giordano Bruno – but they couldn’t burn Newton.
I am not unconditionally supportive of our Western civilization, and I regret our past – and present – harmful actions against the rest of the world. But our civilization has developed the concept of a secular society with civil rights, freedom of thought, information, non-violent dissent, and satire. That’s what the terrorists want to take away, and that’s what we must preserve.
Hackers Are Charlie
Hackers have a playful and irreverent spirit. They play with everything, make fun of everything, and by doing so, they create the future. The Internet was conceived as a government project, but it was developed by those who started playing with computers and software to see what cool things could be done. Today’s biohackers, neurohackers, crypto-enthusiasts and tinkerers in the Western world, relatively free from the power of organized religions, are creating tomorrow’s technologies. It is important that they remain free to do so.
Images from Wikimedia and Shutterstock.