Opening Insight: A Brave New World
It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.
What kind of world do we live in?
- A world in which our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are personal and within our power?
- A world in which our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are considered data, outside of our power or control?
- A world in which we feel confident in using and sharing information and data for our common good?
- A world in which we are aware of the manipulations, abuses and violations of our data under the guise of our collective and common good?
What kind of world do we want to live in?
Do we really believe, that in this day and age, we are really in control of our lives; especially when the first president of Facebook admitted last year: that we knowing exploited the vulnerabilities of human psychology to keep our attention creating a distracted and addicted people.
Do we have rights over our own data?
With all of the new regulations and legislation, the reality is that money and power talks. There are loopholes that powerhouses like Google have the capital to find ways to lobby and buck the system. The truth of this statement can be found within an internal Google video called the "Selfish Ledger." The video has made its way into the public arena. While there is no concern nor outcry, we need to ask ourselves:
- Why would they release it?
- What are people saying about it?
- What are people doing about it?
- What can people do about it?
Informational Insights: The Selfish Ledger
The video was made in late 2016 by Nick Foster, the head of design at X (formerly Google X) and a co-founder of the Near Future Laboratory. The video, shared internally within Google, imagines a future of total data collection, where Google helps nudge users into alignment with their goals, custom-prints personalized devices to collect more data, and even guides the behavior of entire populations to solve global problems like poverty and disease.
When reached for comment on the video, an X spokesperson provided the following statement to The Verge:
“We understand if this is disturbing -- it is designed to be. This is a thought-experiment by the Design team from years ago that uses a technique known as ‘speculative design’ to explore uncomfortable ideas and concepts in order to provoke discussion and debate. It’s not related to any current or future products.”1
The Selfish Ledger positions Google as the solver of the world’s most intractable problems, fueled by a distressingly intimate degree of personal information from every user and an ease with guiding the behavior of entire populations. There’s nothing to suggest that this is anything more than a thought exercise inside Google, initiated by an influential executive. But it does provide an illuminating insight into the types of conversations going on within the company that is already the world’s most prolific personal data collector. 1
Source: 1 https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/17/17344250/google-x-selfish-ledger-video-data-privacy
Possibilities for Consideration: Bringing in the Human Element
No utopia can ever give satisfaction to everyone, all the time. As their material conditions improve, men raise their sights and become discontented with power and possessions that once would have seemed beyond their wildest dreams. And even when the external world has granted all it can, there still remain the searchings of the mind and the longings of the heart.
ARTHUR C. CLARKE
The world Google promotes is likened to global control and regulation. They try and sell that world under the guise of the "common good" and "global interest." However, what is really going on?
- Are we willing to give up our FREEDOM? Our Freedom to:
- Are we willing to accept being consciously and unconsciously manipulated and controlled?
- Are we willing to give our lives, and the lives of our next 4 generations over to the likes of Google?
- Are we willing to admit defeat and just accept the abuse, or will we stand together and demand our privacy, protection and FREEDOM?
Add Your Insight: UNITE WE STAND...
The information age has been driven and dominated by technopreneurs. We now have to apply these technologies in saving lives, improving livelihoods and lifting millions of people out of squalor, misery and suffering. In other words, our focus must now move from the geeks to the meek.
ARTHUR C. CLARKE