Saturday, June 7, 2008

Big Brother Is Not Watching You

He is breathing down your neck!

We grew up accustomed to toning down whatever politically critical thought we had while talking in public or over the phone, landline that is. Some might even have gone to the extent of making up code names just in case. And this “some” might not have been any public figure or someone remotely suspected of being eves-dropped on. It seems that this was embedded in our subconscious as we were growing up in less than democratic cultures. We were and still are conditioned to hold back, simply because unbeknownst to us, big brother might be watching.

Exit analog Big Brother, enter digital Big Brother. Research shows that we have voluntarily aided and facilitated the intrusion into our lives and privacy by simply using our cell phones, e-mail, internet, etc. Satellite technologies have been perfected to the extent of having some digital dude sharing live the most intimate moments of our lives, sight and sound! E-mails have provided a platform of readily available material into our most private communications. Internet has us classified by tracking our patterns of navigation and behavior that we are nothing more than a mere variable into a sophisticated algorithm being run by some wacky scientist.

As is the case with technology, some might argue that it is a double-edged sword. The insights provided by this new form of digital benign big brother could be useful for marketing, medical or whatever purposes by narrowing down the behavior patterns of a targeted segment. The benefits could also be argued as highly useful in figuring out patterns of movement of big crowds that could prove vital in catastrophe scenarios or in urban planning issues. Whatever the case might be, the prospects of getting this too close for comfort are scary. A case in point is a recent research on cell phones that concludes that we are creatures of habit. The research is hailed as a breakthrough. “The cell phone researchers pointed out that their paper moved the field forward significantly because people hold on to their phones, and so the movement of individuals is more closely tracked than it can be with paper currency that is passed from person to person". (It turns out that there is a site where movement of paper money can be tracked

Finally, I wonder how the above media combined with the highly secret technology being developed and researched in full force in the USA could result in. The technology I am referring to is nano-technology. The little that I know of it is enough to give me the creeps.

Intelligence in the sense of prying is moving forward in ways that we are totally unaware of. If this all results in us creating a monster bigger than what we can eventually control remains to be seen. In the meantime, we should not be blamed if we end up acting like a bunch of paranoid freaks!

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