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Policing the Dystopia (or Why Power Loves the Dark)


Policing the Dystopia (or Why Power Loves the Dark)

Matthew Harwood, Jay Stanley

Can’t you see the writing on the touchscreen? A techno-utopia is upon us. We’ve gone from smartphones at the turn of the twenty-first century to smart fridges and smart cars. The revolutionary changes to our everyday life will no doubt keep barreling along.


Confess everything now. Confess often. Think "Alice's Restaurant." If enough of us do it, we can overwhelm the system.

I'll start. I kidnapped the Lindbergh baby.


Thanks for publishing this important article.

This article truly, only scratches the surface, of the impact of these technologies not just on liberty, but on what it means to be human, in society.

The authors are clearly aware of this, with their opening references to the burgeoning "smart" networked technologies; the "robot" hotels and stores being planned; the effects of intensive "public" transit surveillance technologies; and the closing glance at "the decade to come, much less decades from now."

i find that pretty much no one is willing or able to stop and look at what all the implications are for humans, of the rapidly accelerating development of network technologies and "smart" everything.

"Consumers" certainly seem excited about the new abilities to buy and receive stuff from "the economy" via this network.

But no one ever seems to want to think for more than a second about what it means for humans to become nodes on this vast network.

Articles i've seen in mainstream corporate media just in the past week refer to: Construction of a human genome, which would enable the creation of humans who do not have parents; Robot workers replacing longshoremen; and the effects of the "data mining" business model of Facebook and Google on human social and economic interaction; and perhaps most significantly, the development of AI, Artificial Intelligence, in which the computer programs themselves become "intelligent" and take on development of improved computer programs.

As with everything in this era, not only is the pace of development of all these technologies accelerating, but also, the rate of acceleration is itself accelerating. That's what's known as a hyperbolic curve in math, and the simultaneous convergence of all these hyperbolic curves indicates to me the end of humanity and society, as well as the ecology of the Earth. Where will the hyperbolic curve of AI lead? This is "the singularity" that you may have seen reference to.

"Moore's Law" has held since computers were invented around WWII, and it continues to hold today: The density of computer memory doubles roughly every eighteen months. The computing power of the room-sized computers that helped work out the math for the first atomic bombs in the Manhattan Project, is dwarfed by tiny microprocessors today, and now we move toward quantum computing where the on/off switches are at the sub-atomic level, and the density of computer memory comes to dwarf that of the neuron networks in the human brain.

Again, in this brief and vastly incomplete sketch of references, i am only barely scratching the surface of this mighty explosion of technological development. What are we building? Who knows? But hey, driverless cars! Drone delivery of pizza! 3D printing! And it's all being built to serve me! iPhone, iRobot, iLife! Wheee!