One person is sitting on the computer – it was a mystical, ever-present sight. This is a person who can control the magic box, someone who can speak machines fluently. In the jewel of ’82, the original TronOne software with perception says to another: “That is Tron. He fights for the users ”. Users, we humans, are the all-powerful creative gods of the burgeoning digital age and computers that have taken on our bids. We took charge.
In today’s world, the subject and the object have swapped places. Popular websites, apps, platforms: Computers run the program now and we – the mere data subject, in the unflattering European Union phrase – work and worship them. The software creates us, our first emissions system to power large corporate machinery. Perhaps the inevitability of inversion is always there, encoded in words. The end user is already taking advantage of it.
But a new user grows up with a different name, looking to regain control. Neither tech wiz nor entrepreneur, their vehicle is nonetheless digital, and they look better than anyone in terms of its power and reach. Connectivity doesn’t overwhelm them; it inspires their labor and activates their mission. They are the creators of new cultures – participants, co-authors, influencers, storytellers. They are, quite simply, the fans. As the four stories in this collection unfold, they are recreating the world in their own image. —The Editors
This article appeared in the September issue. Subscribe now.
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