social media, Technology, Uncategorized

In the Halls of Smoke and Mirrors

Let’s cut to the chase, we know that technology changes society. The idea of disruptive innovation has been around for a while but while – that being that innovations disrupt markets is not carried over to the idea that technology also disrupts society seems to be glossed over as a cost of business.  Yet as technology continues to change the parameters of our existence, it doesn’t seem to take into account the human cost which, as long as we cannot profit from it (yet) can either not be measured or be something to be concerned with. But how are we to go on when all the guideposts we were given have been bleached out by the ever-increasing glare of technology. We try to order our life by rituals by moments in time that we attach importance no longer seem to matter. Growing up we were taught that certain things were important, having dinner together as a family, a basic connection to one another,  and a common agreement as to what was important. However, technology seems to have erased our past like footsteps in the sand. While my childhood weekends were spent outside riding my bike to a friends house, playing games with the neighborhood kids coming home only when the street lights came on at night.

Today, my kids spend their weekends in their rooms glued to their screens, watching life as opposed to living it. Friends are spoken to online, no need for face to face interactions. The ideas some of us may have been raised with have now become quaint museum pieces. A job isn’t something that you have for life, there is no 40-year watch on your retirement any more (I still have my grandfather’s watch given to him on his retirement) but it has become a transitory relationship, a landing point till something else comes along. Friends are not people but clicks on Facebook pages. Why experience something when we can see it from the safety of our room- as there are no new frontiers, at least we can watch the reruns of the old ones.

And yet, how are we to understand this recreated world when we find ourselves lost in a hall of mirrors, where all our maps have become obsolete. We cant raise our children to hope for a better life than what we had as everything is so different we don’t know what is to come. We dare not put a value on anything for the future may convert our diamonds into handfuls of dust. What else to explain this old white man rage, this shaking fist at a furious rate of change that could leave them in a cloud of irrelevance. Our octagenarian leaders sit wag their double chins at the marvels that the computer age has brought, both creating and destroying. Media brings us a constant barrage of dystopian messages only serve as a signal of the old orders distrust of the future and the loss of their value. Hopefully, that marking will too fall by the wayside like a bleached out road sign in the desert.

lady from shanghi

What do you do when the future looks nothing like your past



“You’re on Candid Camera!”

You may remember the name Alan Funt and the catchphrase, “You’re on Candid Camera!” For those uninitiated, Candid Camera is an American hidden camera/practical joke reality television series that involved concealing cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with unusual situations, sometimes involving trick props, when the joke was revealed, victims would be told the show’s catchphrase, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.” It seems now that Alan Funt should be the next Mayor of London, as it has become the surveillance capital of the world. With one camera for every 14 people in the city, it is thought that you may be seen by as many as 300 cameras in one day. Now while the accepted idea has been that this surveillance was in place to reduce crime it seems that only  3% of the crimes are solved using closed-circuit television.

So why are Londoners being recorded everywhere they go, more than anywhere else on earth. One may also ask the same reason why Google and other internet companies are tracking us. While the idea that this is solely so that companies can market their products and services to us does sound plausible, the fact is they are tracking our every move, as a recent New York Times article noted, you are being tracked almost every moment of the day to almost your exact latitude and longitude. Now while it would be pretty to think that this is all to give us the convenience of having what someone else thinks we might need brought to us, it begs the question, is this anything that we as humans really need? Is there not something to be said for the quest of anything in one’s life? By the same measure, what is the need for Londoners to be tracked from place to place? Unfortunately, the more plausible truth is that someone is profiting off all of these transactions, either in financial currency or in the manipulation of power. You can control people by controlling the options that they have to choose from and by manipulating the ideas of what is acceptable to be “safe”. Anyone who has children has used the , a method of controlling the choices of a child to make them feel as if they have power over a very controlled outcome, for example, “You can wear either the red or the blue t-shirt to school” rather than a myriad of choices. While we may not like the idea that we are being controlled like children, we should like even less than we are being surveilled to also keep us under control. Surveillance is expensive and why should we be surprised that London, the financial capital of the world, the wealthy are doing everything to keep their status protected. You can control what you can predict, and how do we learn to predict but by watching past behavior.

Now there are those who may think this is all being too cynical but then, what would be the other choice, that we are being watched over by benevolent machines and the wealthy whose concern is our highest good? Yes, that must be it…

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