Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Not Paranoid, Really

I promise, I'm not paranoid, really. Okay, maybe a little. But doesn't everyone glance back in the rear view mirror and think you're being tailed by the car that's followed you for 3 blocks? Doesn't everyone take the very next turn and feel foolish when the suspect car continues on?

No? You sure?


Alright. Alright. I'm a little suspicious. I can't help it. What do you expect from a grunge girl at the infancy of the mass World Wide Web who grew up reading Philip K. Dick and George Orwell?

Cameras on every corner and intersection. Companies that tailor their advertisements to your credit or debit purchase history. Government agencies that can know exactly where you are just by your phone. You can't even return something without swiping your driver's license so the proverbial THEY can track your life.

And don't get me started on the whole social network movement. Or the data clouds that hold your life of documents, photos, and whatnot for you.

This trend of submissive, first step-to-oppressive society hit home when I watched a home improvement commercial the other day. They were all excited to share their new "service" to customers, where they can pull up what holiday decorations you purchased the previous year so you "don't have to remember" those small details.

And my coworkers were all excited about how great this would be, and I just sat there in quiet horror. All my SF fears came bubbling up in my imagination. What is a common path to dystopia in fiction, people? Perceived utopia and convenience to the people, that's what.

Maybe it's because all the crazy end of world talk or just that, yes, yes, I'm a conspiracy at every corner kind of gal, but the trend of bar coding society really sets my hair on end. But, what really throws me for a loop is how easily it's happening.

Literally with excitement that another private fold is being pulled open and smoothed out for people to monitor and note. It's a slippery slope, but one I'm not sure society knows how deep and steep the ride can be.

No, I'm not saying an evil warlord is keyed to take over, but as an American I'm always nervous when something brushes against or even remotely close to my rights. Rights that my ancestors worked so hard and sacrificed so much to earn.

I'll admit, I'm caught up in the flood myself. My entire life is on internets, intranets, forums, databases, blogs and every other kind of network and/or electronic system out there. The question is, at what point does not being part or enough of the system single you out and to what end?

The times we live in are starting to feel like the prologue to one of Philip or George's books, to me anyways.

So, how far do you think society will go with this integration of life and technology? How far are you willing to go before it's too much and too intruding into your life?

Nerdy minds (me) want to know.