The Net

Original title: (Das Netz - Unabomber, LSD & Internet)
Director:
Germany, 2003, 121 min, color/b&w
In German; English subtitles

In 1996, the FBI captured the American domestic terrorist and former mathematics professor and anarchist author Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, who understood himself to be battling the increasing technolog,ization of the world. In the mid-20th century, a network of thinkers and a host of intellectual developments—including cybernetics and systems theory, multimedia art, new concepts of psychology and military research—came to the fore and became relevant in influencing and controlling communications and mass behaviors. With the development of the internet in the 1980s, the question arose: What does the unlimited development of information technology mean for human society?

 

This compelling and provocative documentary explores how post-WWII trends and modern technology influenced social relationships, affected people’s minds and potentially replaced reality with virtual realities. It interweaves excerpts from correspondence between the director and Ted Kaczynski between interviews with leading American eyewitnesses, including New York publisher John Brockman, American writer and co-creator of the Whole World Catalog Steward Brand and physicist and philosopher Heinz von Foerster. The Unabomber’s story is presented as an extreme case of how individual identity can disappear in global virtual worlds.

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