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Your Fifteen Minutes of Privacy

Friday 13 April 2012

Andy Warhol famously declared that in the future, everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes. In the film We Live In Public, Ondi TImoner shows us the life of an early Internet pioneer, Josh Harris, who thought that people would want to put their whole lives on-line–except that he was working on this in the early 1990s, when the Internet was largely still driven by dial-up modems.

Harris comes across as an odd guy who made a fortune in Internet statistics collection decades before anyone else. He started streaming video services and chat rooms when most folks were happy with BBSes and email that took whole minutes to download over a 9600 baud modem. And, he ran projects involving putting a person’s or group’s whole existence–every waking moment and all the sleeping ones, too–out for the public to see.

It’s a very disturbing view of a possible future. I think one saving grace is that most people would not voluntarily put they bathrooms and bedrooms up on the WWW, but shows like Survivor are certainly well within his predictions.

The film is a little long for the material; I suspect could have been well-covered in an hour or a bit over, instead of one and a half. You won’t be able to see it again at AIFF, but if it’s on Netflix or Amazon, it’s worth a gander. I rate it interesting but not outstanding.

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