“The year is 2274, the remnants of human civilization live in a sealed domed city, a utopia run by a computer that takes care of all aspects of their life, including reproduction.”
This is how Wikipedia depicts “Logan’s Run”, a 1976 movie which made an impression on me when I saw it, which was probably something like 10 to 12 years later. What I remember the most is something Logan 5 (one of the lead characters) repeats constantly when subjected to an interrogation, and the power of this phrase and thought is such that it ends up destroying his captors: “There is no Sanctuary”. The scene is marvelous, full of meaning, condensing the whole plot in just a few minutes. See for yourself:
The theme of the movie made a big impression in me back then. I was already a “computer enthusiast”, a.k.a. nerd. A very young nerd of course. What shocked me the most was the future this movie proposed: a time when everything was going to be controlled by a Technology so powerful that it could even hide reality from us and eventually, terminate us. This was 8 years before the first Terminator movie by the way.
A few years into the future from 1976 found me coding my first web pages. It wasn’t hard to learn as I had picked up coding early in the ’90s. One didn’t think on “apps” as we now know them. It was all al integral part of a site, and if the site was big enough, a portal. What was hard was to make your site noticeable. Drive traffic to your site and get people interested. My site was doomed from day 1 as it was about Underground / Independent Art, which wasn’t mainstream back then.
What made it hard was that SEO was not there, Google was just a start-up, and being a webmaster sounded as complex as being an astrophysicist so naturally there was not a lot of Collaboration and open source platforms where not that developed, which made Windows based hosting, well, not as affordable as it is today. Online marketing was just thought as an extension of Direct Marketing. Your site would go unnoticed unless you paid to become visible. A lot. Or found a way to redirect traffic to your site. You didn’t choose to be invisible, you paid to become visible because that meant business.
Fast forward almost 20 years from then, add a few Conspiracy Theories Enthusiasts and the “Deep Web” comes to life, portraying an underworld impossible to find, only available to Technology extremists (hackers doesn’t seem cool enough), holding secrets so dark and powerful that all Governments loathe and fear it.
In reality, what seems to have happened is simple: Technology gave birth to new businesses. Some of them are not just dependent on Technology: they ARE Technology and they grew so much and so fast that they became powerful operators of the On-line world. It has happened what happened many, many times in Human History: a new power arises and decides what to keep, what to throw away and what to hide.
The Deep Web is nothing but a collection if un-indexed content in the form of web-pages or websites not listed or available through regular search engines.
This “obscure” content is only available through the use of certain web browsers and some are even accessed through specific web protocols, which actually deprives them of the security layers the “public” web has at the same time it adds a certain quality, a coating of mystery that makes it well, compelling at least.
The Deep Web of today looks a lot like what we called “the web” before search engines owned the business: sites hard if not impossible to find, protocols that our regular browsers will not open because they are “not safe”, etc.
There is probably a lot of content that is meant to be hidden, and some other that is intentionally left out of search results, yet the one question that keeps popping in my mind is simpler, and I guess it can be traced all the way back to that 1976 hit Logan’s run was.
Is Technology fooling us, or are we the ones allowing it to do so?
Also published on Medium.