Thursday, January 02, 2014

The Future of Privacy (or lack thereof)

Lately, I have been confused about what to do with my blog.

I have had some interesting ideas about the future—things are changing very quickly. I think facial recognition technology is fairly advanced; if you think about Google Glass, and about Facebook grid search, and the progress in voice recognition, transcription, and translation...I can imagine a world where strangers who meet me in the street can instantly review and sort all of my Facebook comments, my pictures, and my blog posts; they could search for specific things, or they could make generalizations, or they could chart trends (I'm thinking of the little programs that will already analyze our Facebook profiles or blogs and tell us detailed things about ourselves). Even information that is private now—such as e-mails I've sent, or things I have typed in and then deleted without posting it or sending it or saving it anywhere—this information is in databases somewhere, and who is to say that those databases could not eventually become public on purpose or because someone or everyone decides they must be...and I just wonder, of course, I am human, and what if I blog something that offends someone, or is accidentally factually incorrect, or who knows what, and then that information is there for interpretation in contexts that I don't even understand yet. It seems like everyone knowing everything is bound to happen sooner or later, and I think of the math question about how fast a stadium can be filled with water, and I can see that technology is advancing very rapidly. That makes me think I should delete everything and never post anything, in the spirit of “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.”

And then I think, by the time everyone knows everything about everyone, silly attempts to conceal human weakness will be irrelevant at best or deceptive at worst, and most likely, nobody will care, because it turns out everything is just about math, and once we have enough of the code figured out, solving x will be obvious, and it will be hard to judge anyone for anything, because it's just math. You would never look at a forest and judge one of the trees harshly, because it just really doesn't matter if one tree is a little taller than another tree, because they're just all growing towards the light, and a crooked tree is strong in its own way because it is kind of amazing that the tree was able to take advantage of different opportunities to reach light in a place where there wasn't much.

I am also a little afraid to blog because I could be wrong about things and be embarrassed later. Or, I could accidentally offend someone, and later cause someone to be angry. On the Internet it is impossible to take anything back after it is said, or even after it is “thought”.

I can just imagine going for a job interview and having someone present me with things I said that were not thought through well enough, or “evidence” that I wouldn't do the job well based on something I admitted or did poorly years before. But after that kind of paradigm shift, maybe everyone will have things like that.

And, if I am earnestly trying to be a good person—which I think I am trying to do—maybe that kind of record is a positive thing.

Last Sunday in Sunday School they were talking about the ten virgins, and I had the thought that the story totally matches my idea of what is coming. Once everything is known, it will be too late; what we will have done will already be done, and it will be available for full review, and it will be too late to revise and add new “drops” of oil or become “good” (whatever that means).

by Paisley, Jan 2014
My ideas about technology are very interesting to me as I think about religion and the gospel. Think about this: if everyone knew everything about you, how would you want to be? If people could use micro-drones to kill anyone, or pass whatever judgment they felt was would you prepare for that, if you knew that it was coming? You would love your brother as yourself, for sure. The best you can do is to love others as much as yourself, and if you've loved them that much, how can anyone expect more, because that was the best you could do? Or, if you wanted to get specific, to prepare for that kind of world where everyone knows everything you wouldn't steal, lie, or commit adultery. And if you had a history of that kind of stuff when things changed, everyone would suddenly know, and it would become a problem for you.

My big ideas about technology and the future have me increasingly convinced that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are true. I used to feel like there was a conflict between religion and technology (or “logic”), and then I started to feel like they must blend somehow but over the past few months I've figured it out. I've had a paradigm shift, and everything makes so much sense. Technology is truth, the gospel is truth, and comments about advances in technology being “for” the gospel totally miss the mark. The Internet is not just to help people do family history or watch movies about Jesus, although those things are nice; it is much, much, much bigger than that: technology is how the gospel happens. I may write more about this later. Now that I understand, I am very interested to read the scriptures again because I think I will come away with some really amazing insights that will help me understand what is coming and know how to prepare for it.

Anyway, back to my original topic, I feel some anxiety about how online sharing will affect my future. I think I will continue to write anyway.


Braden said...

I like this post. I'm glad you're going to keep writing.

I'm really sorry that we missed Paisley's birthday party, by the way. We just forgot. We appreciated the invitation.

Jennifer Swen said...

I agree with being concerned too, but I also still blog for now. Maybe it is best while we still have freedom to do so. My family is from Wisconsin, and we are thinking of Uruguay as the place we want move. We are thinking of coming in July, my husband is taking an online tefl class. Are there many English teaching jobs there? Also is it hard not to have a car especially with children? Do they have parks, and a library? I'm gonna have a hard time at first not being able to buy organic food and i plan to bring a bunch of organic peanut butter with
Thank you for this blog, the residency post is how i originally found your blog. Jennifer

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