Main character energy is not a matter of being “individualistic” or singular but rather of being extremely legible
To be truly countercultural in a time of tech hegemony, one has to, above all, betray the platform which may come in the form of betraying or divesting from your public online self.
The act of translating the world's complexity into a computable format and structure inherently leads to compression: in which the territory is compressed into a map. This is why Facebook presents us with such a tragically lame abstraction of the richness of human social life.
At small scales or with narrowly scoped "translations", this is actually fine. Accounting software is a good example of this, as is music production software. Even email seems to be ok.
But at scale, any computing system that interacts with the wider world - such as a global transportation system (Uber), a home-based hospitality company (Airbnb), or egalitarian content delivery system (YouTube) will be forced to see its map interface with the territory. The results are never good.
Have you seen what happens when you take a screenshot, print it out and scan it back into your machine? Maybe not much at first, but over time more and more artifacts - noise - will appear. It's called generation loss and eventually, as entropy gains an ever-increasing foothold, nothing will be left but this digital gibberish. This is what happens with these computing systems at scale. As these systems enter into a cycle of ingesting and translating (compressing) the world's complexity, they then output their distorted model for the world to deal with.
"...One of the characters hits their head 'to forget', and this isn’t innocent in an age when exhaustive data are collected about our lives, and the right to forget has become utopic."
“When we write on the web, it’s Styrofoam,” [Meghan Daum] said. “It’s disposable; you don’t need it after five minutes, and yet it’s never going to go away.” You can still try to reveal yourself in the Didion mode, with lean prose and poetic idiosyncrasies — but the chances are good there’s plenty of intimate, strange, indestructible material trailing in your wake already.
We must break out of the distortion field of our individual thinking today, wipe the slate clean, and project ourselves into the brighter future. What do our higher selves call for? What isn’t being provided today nearly well enough? From there, the bridges to that future can be found.