Feeds

Google explains Gaia Theory: A butterfly flaps its wings …

Sarah Hunter strikes again

Security for virtualized datacentres

Google’s Sarah Hunter is utterly, completely our favourite policy lobbyist in the UK. She’s a gift who can’t stop giving. Lord Derry Irvine's god-daughter was on Blair's personal staff, and was formerly No.10 policy advisor for culture. She gave top media and telecoms people an education at a Westminster Forum conference today.

The internet is very connected, said Hunter. It’s symbiotic.

“It’s like the Gaia Theory,” she explained. “A butterfly flaps its wings and a tsunami happens in another part of the world,” she explained.

Actually, no. The butterfly illustration is used to highlight non-linear chaotic systems. That’s maths. The Gaia Theory is a cybernetically-inspired metaphor coined by James Lovelock, that invites us to view the Earth as a self-healing organism. It’s ontological. The Earth may be chaotic, but these are two different “theories”. They're also well known pop-science terms, it's surprising that anyone could mix them up.

Hunter was talking at a Westminster Forum event called “Dear Jeremy”, the Jeremy being Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. The event invited top telecomms, media and internet companies to submit their wish-lists for Hunt’s forthcoming Communications Bill. It was a bit like speed-dating. You can see why Google might be invited, but it’s all about regulation of old media.

The 2003 Comms Bill created a super-regulator, OFCOM in 2003, and it famously doesn’t include the word “internet”. This was by design, for as soon as you start defining the internet it becomes out of date. Today, Google didn’t go as far as to compare itself to the Medici Family, but it said that it was pretty damned important and should be left alone.

“No one talks about how important the platforms are,” said Hunter, “but they’re the jam in the sandwich.... YouTube, or Blogger, or Flickr, or Facebook. We all take them for granted. It’s very expensive and very hard to do YouTube.”

And even more expensive when YouTube has to pay for its content.

She also made a plea for data hoarding. Google and Facebook seem to be engaged in an arms race to grab as much of your personal data as they can. But there’s a reason for this, Hunter explained.

“It’s the only way, frankly, to make money on the internet - people giving data away. It allows people like us to understand what users like and to change the service accordingly.” Hunter said she feared privacy laws – without using the ‘P’ word.

“The direction of travel is not as sensible as it ought to be.”

She also said computer scientists should be appointed to top company boards. Funny, that. Hunter first starred at The Reg when she explained shopping was more important than the production of new cultural stuff. She last featured when she put her name to Google’s submission to the Google Hargreaves Review into Intellectual Property and Growth. It was a quick cut-and-paste job riddled with typos and spelling mistakes.

Chairman John Whittingdale MP thanked her for a fascinating list of things: “all of which had nothing to do with the Communication Bill.”

You can see why we love her so much. ®

Bootnote

Readers are welcome to submit creative redefinitions of any well known laws of physics, scientific theories, or buzzwords, in by email.

The winner will receive the Register's inaugural Sarah Hunter Award.

Mark your emails "Important", so that gravity can deliver them faster on the intertubes.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER
Rotund types paid nearly 20% less than people who didn't eat all the pies
Emma Watson should SHUT UP, all this abuse is HER OWN FAULT
... said an anon coward who we really wish hadn't posted on our website
Japan develops robot CHEERLEADERS which RIDE on BALLS
'Will put smiles on faces worldwide', predicts corporate PR chief
Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city
Belgian booze pumped from underground
Oz carrier Tiger Air takes terror alerts to new heights
Don't doodle, it might cost you your flight
Amazon: Wish in one hand, Twit in the other – see which one fills first
#AmazonWishList A year's supply of Arran scotch, ta
Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team
Can you imagine the scene? 'Hey guys, it's your new owner – WTF is that on your desk?'
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.