Cyber hustling

Steven Poole has an interesting debunking of some prominent cyber-gurus in The New Statesman, “Invasion of the Cyber Hustlers”, here.  In it, he writes:

However, it doesn’t matter if cyber-hustlers are wrong about the present, because their brand value is more as wireless Nostradamuses.  The cyber-maniac ideates a perfect cyber-future and affirms at the top of his voice that it has already arrived, or is so vague about the date of its realisation that he could never possibly be refuted. The title of a recent Ted talk by Shirky is a beautiful example of such unfalsifiable cyber-augury: “How the Internet Will (One Day) Transform Government.”

I was reminded of this 1707 statement by French Prophet John Lacy I had earlier quoted:

They know not what to make of the Words, little time, speedily, shortly, suddenly, soon. They would have me define the Time, in the Prophecies of my ancient Servants. Yet those Predictions carried in them my authority, and were fulfilled soon enough, for those that suffered under them . . . I have seen it best, not to assign the punctual Times, by their Definition among Men; that I might keep Men always in their due distance, and reverential Fear of invading what I reserve, in secret, to myself . . . The Tower-Guns are the Tormenta e Turre aethera, with which this City I have declared should be battered . . . I have not yet given a Key to Time in this Revelation.”

Lacy was explaining to his followers among the millenarian French Huguenot sect in Britain why his prophecies had not yet been fulfilled.  (Source details here.)

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