We Are Borg

Posted on March 29, 2018. Filed under: Politics, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Are you kidding me?” That was the intrusive thought as I perused the electronics store looking for home security systems. My personal privacy is one thing I treasure, and, I wanted to protect my new hermit sanctum from uninvited and opportunistic “guests.”

My sense of what to expect in the way of suitable equipment was stand-alone motion sensors, site alarms, and, maybe closed-circuit camera surveillance, all of which would be subject to my personal control.

But, the systems on display here touted such wondrous features as voice control, inter-device wireless communication, remote viewing of my hermit cave from another city, even talking to a person ringing my doorbell from 200 miles away. And, it was touted, I had personal control of the entire security spectrum through my smart phone or other computerized device. Such control would be managed over Al Gore’s marvelous invention, the World Wide Web. YES! That would be the same internet that allows our identities, wealth, and reputations to be stolen… where employers can read your thoughts on personal web sites and fire you for being non-compliant with the employer’s views.

Another thought, chilling to my personal sense of privacy and control of my life, flashed through my mind on the heels of that hype: George Orwell’s 1949 novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Its distinction was the introduction of the term Big Brother, the name of an authoritative government whose power derived from the application of thought control over its citizens, a power facilitated by confinement and brain-washing of non-compliant persons.

It was the term “internet” that fueled my spine-tingling thought of Big Brother. That net would be the same place that has stored all the formerly private information about my financial dealings, my bank information, my medical information, my comments on Facebook and Twitter, my political affiliations and opinions, my religious convictions, my familial connections; even the kind of music and movies I see and hear, and the kind of things I enjoy and purchase at the grocery store. All known to the internet.

Yes, your personal calendar, though fortified against intrusion by that secret password known only to you, is vulnerable to any hacker’s eyes.

Oh, for the good old days of real privacy. Back then, your personal information was not sold or given away by businesses with whom you contracted, and the use of cash did not announce to the world your name, your address, your description, your employer, your location at the time you made payment, etc.

Cash is a private transaction, whereas credit cards and debit cards scream out everything about you over a virtual public-address system.

I just love internet sites’ declarations of privacy toward your personal business: Because we respect your privacy, we will not sell or give away your information to others… except to our affiliates and 3rd parties who can help us make another buck, and they have not agreed to anything regarding the privacy of your personal information.

That previous paragraph was my personal summation of what that 10,000-word, fine-print declaration of respect intimates.

Once, I considered myself to be “John Q. Citizen.” Now, I have become stamped on the forehead as “Grade-A Prime Marketing Prospect.”

I resist, but I know…

resistance is futile.

I try to remain apart, but, I know…

I will be assimilated.

Though Orwell missed the bigger picture, his Big Brother has jumped into the Collective Mind of internet feet first. NSA, FBI, FCC, KGB, and a host of other alphabet soup agencies and dot-com web sites gleefully mine the mother-lode of data held within that COLLECTIVE mind of internet.

Another chilling thought from the universe of Roddenberry’s Star Trek…

Resistance is futile.

You will be assimilated.

WE ARE BORG

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The Merger

Posted on April 1, 2012. Filed under: History, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The rise of the experts (specialists in a given field) was important in the progress of human social evolutions.  This focus on specific areas allowed improvements (fine tuning) to innovations in every field, including medicine, engineering, navigation, transportation…   and even blog comment spamming.

Traveling circuses and carnivals of yore used an advance man to stir public interest ahead of their arrival at the next stop on their tour.  Experts, climbing higher and higher in their ivory towers, and, their views experiencing unfamiliar competition from an expanding Smart Dude membership base, found that staying on top wasn’t easy.  Protecting the purity of their intellectual turf required frequent and wide distribution of their assertions.  What they needed was a Gatling gun approach to information dissemination, and, that Gutenberg innovation, attended by a retinue of neophytes, should be compliant enough to fulfill that need for publicity.   …Maybe I should say “public authentication.”

The printing business was meandering along, searching for its identity, and the needs of the Great Learned provided a focus for their efforts.  So, between the story of a bar fight over in Shadyville and the fashion highlights of the attendees at the Grand Opera (strictly an upper-class affair), they could now slip in Sir Isaac Newton’s great revelation that things over you head could fall on your head, given the right circumstances.  It is incredible that mankind had mucked along for thousands of millenia unaware of such a thing.  But, like Al Gore’s invention of the internet, Newton’s invention of gravity opened brave new worlds everywhere.  Chalk 2 up for the Great Learned Experts.

As a union, this merger was not destined to last.  On one side, the individuals comprising the Great Learned camp had turf issues (“My idea is better than you idea any day of the week and twice on Sunday.  Besides, you don’t even know what you are talking about.”  That kind of professional objectiveness.)  On the other side, veracity seemed to be an issue; actually, a non-issue with some segments who felt a story ought to be just a story, not necessarily an accurate account of anything;  it’s all about sales.  In street jargon, many of these inkers were just sluts for a scoop.  And, never, never forget they had the big P.  Since, for ink fodder, anything with letters or illustrations could be printed, and business was booming through the industrial revolution, the experts needed the grown-up printing industry more than printers needed the experts.  The apprentice became the master.  Information disseminators were now the experts.

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