Privacy and individuality threatened

Duncan – Under the heading of reasons why I should just go home and slit my own throat, I submit the following observations of our post-modern society. My recent reading of a 2001 book Cyborg: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer, by Canadian Steve Mann, informs my comments on the cultural implications of digital “smart” technology, the salient points of which, I’m sure, the corporate fascists of this continent would truly desire to suppress.

The environment we live in allows us neither physical privacy nor mental solitude. The increasing use of video and audio surveillance are just the visible elements of what amounts to a sustained attack on human individuality. Decades ago, as a student at MIT, Mann clashed with the school’s “corporate-directed set of priorities…to develop the computerized ‘smart’ technology model, built on top of an ubiquitous surveillance network.”

Mann cites Margaret Morse’s warning in Virtualities (Indiana University Press, 1998) that “If the future promises to be an ‘augmented’ reality, an animistic, artificial world supported by ubiquitous computing…in what only appears to be ‘real time’, and in which virtual space itself is a surveillance agent, then this will be a world that television has prepared us for by pretending to be talking to you.” This caution reminds us that society is far closer to blindly accepting limiting and potentially dangerous wearable computers.

The “dumbing down” of our educational system facilitates the corporate/government/industrial complex agenda of producing a nation of distracted “consumer drones” by the use of “smart” technologies. (We’ve already had the “smart” hydro meter imposed on us by administrative fiat.) Ah yes, you say, “We Canadians, shouldn’t we just go along to get along?” I’d rather we get a spine and resist this growing abrogation of our individual and civil rights. Steve Mann asks: “Why are we so passive, so willing to be told what to do, particularly where technological issues are concerned?” My answer is one word: “Sheople’.” The corporatized tracking of more and more of our daily activities is of great monetary interest to the multi-national corporations. The introduction of these technologies is invidious and insidious. It all begins very slowly and smoothly, presented as means to make life easier and safer, slipping along like a snake in the night until these totalitarian fascist philosophies have completely transformed the society into a police state.

Once a populace has realized the new “state of affairs” as history shows, atrocities and terror are easier to orchestrate, under the guise of science and progress “ordered” by “superiors” but carried out by the general population.

As a Wired Magazine reviewer of Mann’s book noted, “The trend…is to wipe out private identity. The result would be electronic totalitarianism. To resist this trend and to moderate its power is something Steve Mann is (warning us about).”

G. Rolfe