Charles Stross: “George [Orwell] got the telescreens and cameras and the stench of omnipresent surveillance right, but he was writing in the age of microfilm and 3×5 index cards.”

Stross looks at 2017’s dystopian future and the hope we can create a brighter tomorrow instead.

Also, research shows that religion and ideology don’t make people terrorists. People become terrorists when family or friends are killed or arrested.

… research specifically set out to discover what pushed a handful of individuals to join violent extremist groups, when many others facing similar sets of circumstances did not. This specific moment or factor is referred to as the ‘tipping point’. The idea of a transformative trigger that pushes individuals decisively from the ‘at-risk’ category to actually taking the step of joining is substantiated by the Journey to Extremism data. A striking 71 percent pointed to ‘government action’, including ‘killing of a family member or friend’ or ‘arrest of a family member or friend’, as the incident that prompted them to join. These findings throw into stark relief the question of how counter-terrorism and wider security functions of governments in at-risk environments conduct themselves with regard to human rights and due process. State security-actor conduct is revealed as a prominent accelerator of recruitment, rather than the reverse.” In fact, the best defenses against generating recruits for extremist organizations seemed to be things like reduced social and eonomic exclusion (poverty), improved education, having a family background (peer pressure), and not being on the receiving end of violent repression. Because violence breeds more violence — who knew? (Not the CIA and USAF with their typical “oops” response whenever a drone blows up a wedding party they’ve mistaken for Al Qaida Central.)

A bright and shiny hell (Charles Stross/Charlie’s Diary)