The Cyber World
I believe I have a good grasp of where we are and where we’re going in the world as far as technology’s role is concerned. No, this page isn’t about the latest Apple gizmo, it’s about the implications of technology today, especially as it applies to our freedoms. I believe we’re on a collision course with technology. And it’s not just with the now-exhausted news of Edward Snowdon and the NSA spying scandal. That story is conducive to the whole.
No other choice but digital
My mother is still alive. She’s from the so-called Worker Generation, the baby boomers’ parents. They couldn’t conceive of a smartphone in their day, much less understand what’s behind them now. Yet, more and more landline telephone use is disappearing. And I believe at some point no one will have a choice but to have a cell phone. This has been done with film cameras and analog televisions, so telephones will follow suit.
Well, why not Jon, isn’t it better? Sure, what a smartphone can do is amazing compared to an analog telephone, but, old landline telephones are much more difficult to eavesdrop on compared to smartphones. Remember that smartphones are basically the Internet through the air, and everything you do online can be monitored.
The Era of Surveillance
In communist and Soviet times everything you as a citizen did was monitored, which still goes on in places like North Korea. The government must know if there is any dissent so they can stamp it out swiftly and strongly. But that was within the Soviet Union, or just within North Korea with North Koreans citizens. Today the ability to monitor our every digital movement is very real. Sure, it’s not necessarily to detect dissent, though in the case of Islamic terror it is. Islamic terror is a definition of terror, but definitions can change: gay used to mean happy and nothing else.
What you do on the Internet, what you do on your smartphone, iPad/tablet, digital camcorder, whom you talk to, what you buy, whether you use credit, where you drive with GPS in cars, more and more cameras monitoring your physical movements, all of this has the possibility to track you. Yeah sure, it’s not to keep the so-called free world in bondage to a regime like North Korea, not yet, but the potential is there.
And like other means, this technology is partly sold on what, convenience. Don’t get me wrong, what a smartphone can do is convenient. I can use an app for my banking, send text messages, look at the weather, write a song, read a book, buy a plane ticket, watch a video, listen to music, play a game, learn a language, and even check out what constellations are overhead no matter what direction and place on earth I am. Of course you reading this probably know more smartphone apps and uses. One day a phone will be able to pick a lock!
All of those abilities are very cool, but again, if someone really wanted to monitor me, they’d know how much money is in my bank account and what I spend my money on, whom I send messages to, what music I listen to, what videos I watch, where I’m traveling, what games I play, what I read, and where I physically am, that is, where the phone is.
Super and quantum computers
As if a full-fledged computer for a phone is not enough, the technology behind computer development is growing at a rapid pace too, as you probably know. In my fiction series (which as of this writing is not published yet) the main character Edward Carrington is a computer genius. He battles the minions of puppet master Zadig Nazarian, who is a billionaire, and whose evil operations are trying to design and operate an evil version of a quantum computer. What is this?
There have always been high-market computers, usually called supercomputers. But the supercomputers of 15-20 years ago had the power that a smartphone has today. So obviously the high-end computers being developed today have amazingly fast and large configurations.
A quantum computer has a different kind of processing core. One that has an element of physics integrated into it. The quantum computer has not been “invented” yet. They’re working on it. With the element of physics added, supposedly the processing speed will be considerably greater than conventional computers. Though, I have read that quantum computer developers have been struggling to maximize the purported capabilities a quantum computer should have. We’ll see. They won’t give up.
Meanwhile, supercomputers have been racing along as well. You can read these articles from Wikipedia on supercomputers and quantum computers yourself. Also, check out Cray, a supercomputer company, and D-Wave, the so-called quantum computer company. You can even visit this quantum computer news site I’ve been using to keep up with its development.
Why is there a need for these supped-up computers? Here I go. Here comes the crazy stuff. Uh oh!
At some point there will be a one-world system, which will go along with the one-world government that’s coming. At some point, I believe, there will be an attempt to get every single human being’s information in this global system. Well, that’s a lot of data. There are two types of data, organized and unorganized. Organized is what you might fill out in an online credit card application, or your address when buying something online. Unorganized is just code that’s generated when you do something with a computer, such as usage logs, deleted email, and other refuse that could be used but usually isn’t. All of this data takes up space, and takes time for computers to process. Well, if you’re going to get six-billion people onto a computer system, think of the voluminous amounts of data, and how much data processing speed the system will need.
Right now, before the one-world system is introduced and eventually required, a lot of entities, governments, companies use Big Data. Think of Google. They have thousands of servers all over the world, with millions of web searches being performed every second. Imagine the resources needed for that.
So is anyone surprised at the development of super and quantum computers? No. In fact, like I’ve written many times on these pages, we haven’t seen anything yet.
So far what I’ve mentioned has more to do with the technology of computers. Yet there is more to technology than just information technology. Though, each of these items is tied to computer-generated or related data.
- Cars – Usually developed by luxury and sports car companies, the modern automobile has so many computerized components to it that it’s basic function is almost lost. Yet, it’s good for driving. The computerization of the automobile has given us better fuel usage, better braking, and enabled us to get to where we want to go in a more efficient route, to name a few. But it’s not just what’s in automobiles today, it’s also how they’re engineered. Look at the Tesla plant as an example. A Tesla automobile is a technological innovation in itself, but also how the vehicles are designed and made.
- Oil exploration – I know this is controversial, but technology has made the fracking process viable. It’s been around for a while, but only in recent years has technology allowed petroleum companies to profit from this way of extracting oil from the ground. This is actually keeping the cost of gas/petrol down.
- Healthcare – Technology has enabled people to live longer. Ailments of years ago now can be treated or cured. My own mother had macular degeneration. Her mother had it too, but went blind from it. My mother had the surgery, and now has a treatment where she gets a shot in her eye. It’s not fun, but she’s not blind and even drives still. This is only one example.
- Books – I know this probably involves the techie world, but in a way it doesn’t. An eBook is just a glorified webpage, made to look like a book. But there’s a better point to be made than just the technological side. What are books anyway? They are conductors of knowledge. Stories really are too, just done in a very entertaining way. But they conduct what’s in the writer’s mind to the readers’ minds, like an electrical cord conducts electricity. The modern eBook is cheap, usually, and with self-publishing platforms out there, anyone can write and eBook and get their thoughts out to the public. In other words, knowledge isn’t controlled only by a few in the publishing business. The downside is that a lot of junk gets out there; the standards of self-published books are usually low. Yet, look at the freedom that you have with self-publishing and eBooks. Paper books aren’t going anywhere though. I hope not either, because the other downside to eBooks is like anything else in the digital world, what you buy and what you do with them can be monitored.
Where is technology headed?
Beyond making us lazier, I believe that almost every aspect of our lives will have some type of technological or computerized advancement incorporated into it. As I wrote earlier, more and more it will be required as the old “technology” from ages ago will no longer be profitable.
Through convenience, and not wanting to be left out, people will blindly accept the good side of technology and not think of the bad side. Yes, there are ways to become anonymous online and even to be careful with smartphone use, like never passing sensitive data while you’re on public wi-fi. But who really cares? These technologies were sold to us on the notion that they’ll make our lives a lot easier, not where we have to mollycoddle them so no one can steal our information.
I believe at some point the technology and the convenience will get to where you can have data implanted in or tattooed on your physical body. I’ll even be more radical in my predictions: at some point I believe governments will require this. It’s like with illegal immigration in Western countries, not just the United States. How can you keep track of all those people? Well, a digital tattoo would be one way. Same with criminals. Hey, they do that on pets already, inject microchips under their skin to help identify them.
Of course the reality of human existence is that there’s a good side and a bad side to everything. And no matter how convenient something is, there’s always a downside we never think about while we’re focusing on the benefits.
Here are two more things:
- Bitcoin – You’re also going to see a currency replacement that’s similar to Bitcoin. You knew I was going to mention Bitcoin somewhere. Bitcoin is supposedly anonymous. Well, it’s not. Read this book if you don’t believe me. Bitcoin has been a failure. And believe me, since it’s been tax free, governments are after it. So if you’ve thought you’ve been anonymous, you’re not, but also in the future, you definitely won’t be because governments are going to eliminate any anonymity with Bitcoin to make sure they’re getting their cut. But, Bitcoin is more significant because it was a currency that had great value for quite a while, yet had no physical properties, in other words you couldn’t hold it in your hands, it was virtual.
- Cloud – Another advance you’ll see more of is cloud storage, like Apple’s iCloud. With the recent hacking of various celebrities’ nude photos, it should be clear that cloud storage is not really secure. Yet, everything is moving to cloud storage, companies’ data, governments’, and then your own personal data.
The Framers Knew
The worst part of technology today is surveillance possibility, by governments, or any third party. Being monitored is nothing new. Back in the day of the rule of monarchs there were spies, and rewards for being informants. This is why the people who wrote the US Constitution stopped government from spying on its people. Here’s the 4th Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by Oath of affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
This means the government cannot spy on us unless it thinks we’re going to commit a crime. Will we ever go back to that? No. We’re too far gone. The best we can do is temporarily slow down the rate in which our rights are being violated. Hate to say it. This is why I always tell people to enjoy their lives, because some nasty times are ahead.
Despite of this, I believe in technology, because there is a good side; every bad thing, no matter how bad, has a good side. I want more people not to die because of technological advancements in medicine. I want knowledge to be exchanged freer due to eBooks ease of use. I want people to be able to have a safer experience driving an automobile. I think smartphones are great. But I don’t want the bad side of all this. Hey, I don’t know about hackers in Russia, but we have the right not to be spied on by our government when we’re not committing a crime. We have to get serious about the violators of this right in our governments. Will we get serious? I doubt it. But if we don’t care about it, then soon everything we do in the digital world will be monitored to the point where you can’t even express an opinion without being considered an enemy of the state. Do you want this? I sure don’t.