Read the Bruce Sterling short story, “ManekiNeko,” from his collection A Good Old-Fashioned Future. The story in brief: the gift economy of a future Japan is made possible by (or driven by?) networked communications. People follow instructions sent to them anonymously via their hand-held devices to carry out random acts of kindness.
One idea to consider: the main character says of technology, “I really believe that computers help human beings to relate in a much more human way.” What do you normally think about this subject, and what do you think after reading the story? Who (or what?) do you think is sending the messages about helping people, and why?