Do technology advances actually promote collectivism or liberty?
I tend to think that the advances we see in technology, particularly in communication media devices, that I'll admit I enjoy and use (nowhere near) as much and fervently as the aggregate of Mundanes, are nevertheless a curse more than a blessing. This is true not only because of the power of the devices themselves, but also (perhaps mostly) because of the rapid media presentation and convenience that today's highly-peddled so-called public "cloud" helps them to enable and provide, respectively. It sure sounds attractive and juicy.
Yes, it's a potential blessing to be able to have a mobile phone/cam handy to catch the state's minions in the act and stream it out in real time, easily take and store pics, etc. in the "cloud" somewhere and so on and so forth. That only lasts until the next wire-tapping dictate comes down the pike and/or the multinational corporation that owns your particular slice of the "cloud" shuts you down.
Meanwhile, on the cursed side, however, these same communication media technology advances are making it trivial to conduct national espionage, individual snooping, statist propaganda dissemination, statist indoctrination of every kind, not to mention ever increasing centralization and control of commoner data. This is all now done with ease by way of the vast majority of commoners enthusiastically and brainlessly tossing their stuff up into a public "cloud." The commoners irrational attraction to convenience, at any cost other than merely to their personal funds, never ceases to amaze me.
The data centers, full of racks of storage devices, that collectively make up this "cloud" of deceptive convenience are, of course, controlled by just a few multinational corporations who work hand in hand with a given country's Leviathan(s), in which they do business. Simply connect-the-dots. In fact, thanks to the "freedom-enhancing" Internet and advanced communication storage devices and the glorious "cloud" it's actually MUCH easier today for a Leviathan to find, track, and cull a profile of a given Mundane with a full compliment of pics, addresses, associates, mindset, and just about everything else, given how carelessly the commoners utilize their laptops, mobile phone/cams, and the immense assistance of Leviathan's own inner sanctum, or uh the "cloud," to post their whole life story and accompanying pics, videos, etc. online (that is, on a stranger's machine outside of his immediate or an immediate trusted subordinate's control).
It's true that trust is only an ideal, tentative at best in the humanoid world, in any case as there doesn't exist a no-risk existence or situation in this life; ergo, spare me the "That's life!" platitude if you were one who felt the urge to utter such. The critical point I'm attempting to pound home here is that blindly trusting and relegating oversight and control of your pertinent, critical, and/or intimate data (or any other property for that matter) to outright strangers - whether they be individuals, groups, or corporations (by extension -> Leviathan) carries orders of magnitude higher risk of compromise, betrayal, and ultimately repression.
So, in the grand scheme of contemporary online life, are we really gaining overall momentum for the freedom train to accelerate away from the garrisoned station as many seem to suggest, or are we instead unwittingly accelerating towards it by actually allowing the state through its corporatist tentacles to herd, corral, control, and ultimately repress us?
Something to ponder...'til next year's post ;).
Labels: the big picture