2007 is tucking itself into bed. Let us check upon the psychic health of the nation. How are we?
Now being tested in Bristol City Centre: Closed-circuit television cameras equipped with microphones and loudspeakers enabling surveillance officers (Randstad Employment Bureau temporary agency staff £6/hour-no benefits) to bark orders at their fellow citizens.
Meanwhile in New York, a new technology manufactured by Holosonic transmits an "audio spotlight" from a rooftop speaker so that the sound is contained within your cranium.
Used to promote a television series about the paranormal, the issue widens from one of privacy to one of general public sanity. Religious groups, anti-capitalists, civil libertarians, secular-humanist anti-theists and the merely understandably slightly bewildered should quite rightly be absolutely furious about… well, we’re not sure how to put it.
In his book The Minority Report Phillip K. Dick describes a world where people are punished for crimes they have yet to commit, on the basis of a single incriminating brain scan. The technology is here.
Talented marketers (governments included) know what you want before you even know you want it. Face, voice, lip and body language-reading software can have you analysed, predicted and soothingly horse-whispered -if not blatantly coerced- into submission within seconds of arriving at the store.
“What did you do when you got back from work last night?”
“I watched a television program.. I think it was about ghosts...”
“What are ghosts?”
“....um… non-corporeal entities that bring us confusing messages from another dimension…”
“No. Those are called adverts.”
We can read each others intentions and predict each others behavior with some level of accuracy. We may soon be able to solve future crimes, eavesdrop on private conversations whispered in public, interpret suspicious body language and radically tailor advertising to each individual’s needs, dreams and desires, and broadcast a telepathically bespoke portfolio of glittering lifestyle products directly into each other’s minds. Total information awareness. Late night one-click buy-it-now Freudian slip. Your darkest desires delivered straight to your door and in the fog of the morning you come quietly and help the police with their enquiries.
If we are all given the technology is it fair game? As the National Rifle Association likes to argue after each hormonal killing spree, if everyone carried a piece they could have taken him down much quicker…
CCTV surveillance is very popular with the public. Violent crime, knifings and shootings are perceived to be on the rise in
For the mystics and Pantheists among us, this momentous blurring of the private and the public may just be more evidence for the fact that we are all the same person. But nonetheless, unfortunately, we are having a massive argument with ourself.
Happy New Year, and may your Gods, or not, be with you.