Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Unzoo theme: 'Control creep' - the crawling hand of surveillance


The tension between technology as a tool for humanity versus being a weapon continues:

'Control creep' - the crawling hand of surveillance

Kathleen M. Kuehn looks at the role of data in the increasing control we're afforded in our lives, and explores how that data may be used to control us.



Key outtakes:

It is no longer all that controversial for Westerners to say that we live in a surveillance society. Once characterised by authoritarian, non-democratic regimes, most of the “free world” now readily submits to the routine collection, storage and analysis of personal data, whether it’s for the purposes of governing a population, or influencing people’s behaviours (such as where we go or what we buy).

But what about celebratory innovations like smart cities, smart homes, that seek to improve our lives in immeasurable ways? The “internet of things”, virtual reality and programmes driven by “big data” also depend on the tracking, collection, storage and aggregation of formerly discrete datasets. These often include an individual’s personal information, habits, routine communications and location. The sensor networks only become “smart” as they get to “know” you better (perhaps better than you know yourself).

So far, more data has not unilaterally meant better information and knowledge. And before we celebrate the way digital connectivity offers us more control over our everyday lives, we might instead question the ways that all this data might be controlling us: what does it now mean to be “free” or secure in the face of ever-expanding surveillance?


The Unzoo Perspective;
Unzoo is primarily about making sure we use our tools (technology) work for us within an evolutionary framework - both considering where we have come from and where we are going.

Even though we continue to evolve in current times, the impact or artificial selection is probably a stronger influence now, and therefore the need to balance our human/technology development is more imperative than ever before.

There are no answers in the Kathleen M. Kuehn article, it is a cautionary tale that asks the questions. So what might the answers be in this case? Unzoo would offer two possible approaches;

  1. get off the grid and go closer to past evolutionary status - lower tech, closer to the environment. 
  2. stay on the grid and work to find the balance. Much harder! But long term payback might be worth it. Hippies from the 60's would favour the off grid approach, but then the process of our evolution would falter. Not a bad thing perhaps, but I favour the true Unzoo approach, this one, where we work to make the technology work for us and not against us. Usually that refers to our true nature as formed by evolution, but our evolution is now merged with technology and there are great developments possible if we can avoid the corruption of the process. History does not favor us in this, but the goal is there anyway.  How can we benefit from the internet of things without becoming caged by it? Any ideas? 
Possibilities: 
  • A parallel internet that blocks (somehow) surveillance use? May be an "off the grid" internet?
  • Identity cloaking or cloning.
  • Dark web "lite" use
?