Man = machine (picture blogspot commons)
Some time ago Boggart Blog invented the Orwell – Huxley – dick index to chart our descent into a dystopian society that lets the oligarchs live in splendour while the rest of us poor punters try to scrabble a living in the lawless, uncleaned streets. We have reported on progress towards the total surveillance society, the use of mass media in manipulating behaviour and the development of new and ever more intrusive technologies to report our activities and get instructions and “advice” from data centres right in our faces. The powers that be are ever encouraging their pet scientists to work on transhumanism, turning us all into cybodgs, part human, part machine, remotely controlled from a data centre.
And yet we are told the machines are our friends, and the intrusions into our privacy are for our benefit. as if we all need to be watched over by Machines of Loving Grace because after a few million years of evolution, most of which for our ancestors was a daily struggle for survival, we can’t cope alone.
The mistake many people make is to think technology is evil but cannot be resisted. Technology is dumb, you may have heard idiot scientists blethering about artificial intelligence but with a long career in computers behind me, talk of intelligent machines that think like humans only demonstrates an inability to yell the difference between science fiction and reality. Technology is not evil, but too often the people who control it are. On the good side however, we can resist them, all we have to do is think for ourselves and question everything.
In a secular sense evil is not about horned beasts that fart pure hydrogen sulphide. It is about total selfishness and lack of empathy with other humans and therefore a complete disregard for their needs, feelings and wellbeing.
It was always obvious to people working in information technology that while it offered the potential to improve life greatly, it could also easily become a gift wrapped opportunity for fascistic organisations to control information, suppress free speech and manipulate behaviour.
The extensive and intrusive surveillance carried on by the US, UK and EU governments demonstrated the ability of the sick individuals who control technology to create a Panopticon, a prison society with inmates (us) under total surveillance. all the usual suspects are still in the game of course, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon (who surely have developed artificial stupidity rather than artificial intelligence), Cisco, Apple, along with governments.
In the most recent example of corporate fascism via technology, a leading IBM official has resorted to threats and bullying and urged the world to “embrace” ubiquitous surveillance of the public through biometrics, because, he argues, it is too late to fight against it. (“Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated,” to quote Star Trek.)
trying to stop this would be fighting the wrong battle. said Peter Waggett, Programme Leader at IBMs Emerging Technology Group.
Were fighting the wrong battle when we ask should we stop people being observed. That is not going to be feasible. We need to understand how to use that data better, Waggett added, speaking at a Nesta panel debate on biometrics.
The information is out of the bottle already we have to deal with the issues surrounding it now. Embrace the challenge of what weve got, embrace understanding it and focus on what we can do with that new data. he argued, urging people to stop worrying about preventing such surveillance from becoming a societal norm.
Ive been working in biometrics for 20 years, and its reaching a tipping point where its going to be impossible not to understand where people are and what they are doing. Everything will be monitored. Waggett continued.
A big worry to privacy campaigners, Waggetts words are all the more scary given that he also heads the BSI British Standards Biometrics Committee – a group set up to develop formal standards in the area of biometrics and promoting their use by government and industry.
During the debate, Waggett referred specifically to depictions of biometric technology in dystopian films such as Minority Report, arguing that such technology is now already in place and unavoidable.
In the film, adapted from Philip K. Dicks story, the public are under total surveillance from biometric technology linked to massive distributed databases. This snooping is as yet usually used for targeted advertising and the encouragement of mass consumption.
It will not stop there however. The corporate cartels want total control and will stop at nothing less, while the biggest flaw of the scientific (semi – autistic) mindset is it must always go further. Ethical constraints do not exist for such people and ” because we can” is always sufficient justification for doing anything.
The pressure to ID people everywhere they are and whatever they do is growing. Insane, neo Nazi ideas like “the internet of things,” (washing machines and fridges that tell the government about you) will progress it, Waggett noted arguing that peoples biometrics should be made more readily available, by which we must assume that IBM are pushing the idea of RFID chips implanted under our skin. The technology is more sophisticated but the social environment promises to be as oppressive as that of the Big brother regime envisaged in George Orwell’s novel 1984
Privacy campaigners want to block facial recognition to stop people using invasive technology, but I think a lot of these things can be used for good. Waggett added, without actually mentioning what good such developments can do.
IBM has recently made headlines because of its involvement in the NSA surveillance scandal. The company is being sued by shareholders for an alleged failure to disclose its involvement in the PRISM program for spying in citizens. The company denies it co-operated with security agencies and claims it has never given customer data or software keys to anyone.
Of course, the companys shady past with regard to working directly with tyrannical governments to enslave and people is well known. ..
In this context, Waggetts declarations on how we should all just stop worrying and learn to love the servitude that will be our lot in this Brave New World that is so like the one invented by Aldous Huxley will be greeted with contempt by those of us who are awake to how our world is being hijacked.
The needle of the Orwell Huxley Dick dystopianometer is creeping up.
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