Amidst the billion articles published in various newspapers that deal with the oh so original subject of “What to Predict” for the next decade; my favourite is the one that described the “possitive” impact computer chips will have on singletons, published in a British woman’s magazine. According to the genius journalist: Once the computer chip becomes ubiquitous, we will all have access to some augumented reality database that will program itself to make a signal when one desperado passes another.
The article finishes with the line; “He notices you, you notice him, your data has been checked and as you are both free you will instantly have a date for Friday evening. Amazing”. Its an absurd concept, and of course, the journalist is a complete idiot who doesn’t even think to mention the privacy issue as an aside. But its funny that in the U.K., someone can write so enthusiastically about having their personal details available to every Tom, Dick and Harry, whilst in Berlin, such an article would prompt hours of paranoid debate.
In the (pseudo) “alternative metropole”, the average student is terrified of their details existing in the public domain. Comparing Facebook to the Stasi archives is a fairly standard conversation starter; as if the network itself had been established by an invisible, evil webmaster planning to take over the world. And German entrepreneurs are capitalizing on said phobia; like the creators of “StudiVZ” who advertise their social network as “the safer one”. The German broadsheet, “Die Welt” reported this week that the popular social network has now employed its own “Surveillance Team” to increase user safety. Because that doesn’t sound creepy at all.
It would be easier to take Anti-Information Age campaigners more seriously if they themselves could take a joke. At a party I got talking to a self proclaimed “organic drummer” (as in, he plays “real” ones as opposed to their digital counterparts). I managed to convince him I’d been paid 50 quid by the British government to have a chip inserted into my arm that monitered my every move, and gave me a bit of an electric shock each time I was up to something naughty. Last laugh was on me though; the idiot spent the rest of the evening chastising me for becoming one more cog in the wheel of man’s mechanisation.
My Predictions for the next decade: Berlusconi’s nose will be slightly off centre.