Why destroy the Internet by Adam Hamdy
Adam Hamdy, author of PENDULUM, reveals amazing levels of anti-tech feeling discovered as part of the research process for his thrilling novel
Posted on April 3, 2017 in Guest Author
Tags: Adam Hamdy, Author Content, Internet, fake news, pendulum
Three guys jump in a boat and try to destroy the Internet. Sounds like the opening line of a joke, right? It’s actually the true tale of three Egyptian men who, in 2013, tried to sever Egypt’s connection to the Internet. Yes, Egypt really does have a single Internet connection, a huge cable that runs beneath the Mediterranean from Alexandria to Italy. The story fascinated me. What motivated these men to take such risks? What were they hoping to achieve by depriving Egypt’s citizens of the ability to upload gifs to Twitter, Instagram images of their meals, or Facebook fake news?
The BBC reported the arrest of the three men (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-21963100), but Egyptian media gave a little more insight into their motivation, and it seems that the men viewed the Internet as a source of negative social influences and decided to take radical steps to thwart it.
When researching Pendulum, which is set against the backdrop of the digital world, I didn’t come across anyone who would dive to the bottom of the Atlantic to cut the UK’s Internet connection, but I was surprised by the strength of anti-tech feeling. The senior music executive who was almost in tears when he described how piracy and streaming services had destroyed his industry, the local newspaper reporter who was desperately trying to avoid the scythe of redundancy until he made retirement, the mother whose teenage daughter had become the unwitting victim of revenge porn; these were all fairly understandable detractors.
What surprised me more was the strength of anti-tech feeling from people who work in the sector and are responsible for financing and building the hardware and software that is transforming our world: the IT consultant who regrets ever allowing his children online, the games designer who won’t let his children have a console, and the tech venture capitalist who has a ‘no devices’ policy at his weekend home.
As the pace of technological change increases with advancements in automation and robotics, maybe one day we’ll see three Britons in a boat armed with snorkels, bolt cutters and a whole heap of Luddite tradition.
Adam Hamdy is the author of PENDULUM