Room Without a Roof:
Abusing Sobriety :
Fedor 1 :
Brehnen WongThe worldwide web’s name makes it exactly that: a web, a network, or, in graph theory, a "graph". This makes it uniquely the world’s largest and most complex concept network. A concept network is a web of interconnected entities that, if done right, can represent anything in the realm of human knowledge. Anything one can think of, really. After all, that’s what a concept is… just something one can think of.
Olena TiffanyA college degree has become nothing more than a club card. And these days, not even your country club. More like a Savemart Savings Card. What with the more recent surge in the number of online degree programs. Even ivy league universities are more focused on "vocational" studies now than ever before; the objective of more and more students is becoming to land white collar jobs after graduation, not to become uselessly enlightened, as in the traditional aim of liberal arts schooling. How sad.
He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He even knows when you’re pretending to sleep! If that’s not creepy, I don’t know what is. We are desensitized to the concept of privacy invasion, because we grew up believing in God. He was always watching us. Like Big Brother. But the concept of God was far too abstract. We needed a real old man with a beard in the sky.
But we also needed him to bring us material goods in a manner that would adhere to the standard practices of mass production and distribution. Henry Ford didn’t wear a beard. Santa Claus wears a beard.
The feeling of comfort and security we get from imagining him bringing us food (mostly candy) and consumer electronics in reward for good behavior annually somehow eclipses the discomfort we should feel when we realize this requires not only that he watch us 24-7 but also that he pry into our subconscious thoughts. How else could he know we weren’t really sleeping?
If childhood stories of Santa Claus has desensitized us and prepared us for the concept of Big Brother presented in a high school reading of 1984, then Google Maps has, through nonchalance and the passing fact that a satellite can zoom in to view a coin on the ground, desensitized us to the Eye in the Sky. T.V. shows like Person of Interest are also participating in the desensitization process. Sitting on Santa’s lap isn’t uncomfortable. Getting murdered is uncomfortable. Ubiquitous vigilance is just not possible without technology. Even Batman was having a difficult time scouring hundreds of camera feeds, and there was probably a movie scene that was cut where he opened an IT ticket for the development of a snappier data visualization interface, or maybe some automated image processing algorithms to help him handle the load. Batman can’t be everywhere and do everything. Even Batman needs IT analysts.
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin
America still has its identity issue, the one blurred by the tradeoff between freedom and privacy, and security. Americans have always been personally defensive when it comes to their constitutional rights, but they’ve never been quite sure which ones they cared about most. They at least believed in this fictitious, abstract idea that cannot be proven and is probably not even real, called the Right to Privacy. You thought I was going to say Jesus. The imaginary concept is not expressly written in the U.S. Constitution, and it is very difficult to claim that the Right to Privacy was ever intended as a constitutional guarantee.
The Right to Bear Arms should be a little more clear-cut, right? Like privacy, it is a cognitive dissonance we have never really understood about ourselves, both confusing and intriguing. Perhaps the 2nd Amendment was never really about freedom; perhaps it was always about security. The option to sign up to join the military and then die in another country was never really in jeopardy, so we brought the fight home, where police officers can use firearms against citizens, citizens can shoot cops, and anyone can put a bullet inside anyone else they perceive to be domestic enemies, and each other. It was never about the Right to bear arms; it was always about the Security of knowing that we can shoot anyone on our property as long as we don’t like them. Somebody breaking into your home is a great reason not to like someone. Forget home security systems. Batman and Robin got nothing on me and my wife here.
The majority of gun owners do not view their guns as antiques, vestigial property symbolic of American and Western history, past times of conquering and suffering. Their guns are not shelved proudly inside Plexiglas boxes, on display for any guest who might fancy a quick intellectual spar with their neighbor involving a quiz of their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. People do not own guns in order to flaunt their property rights as a status symbol, and the right to own a gun has never been seen as a class action issue of social stratification. It was, rather, always about our fetish for imagining and waiting for the arrival of the day that we had an intruder and had to fight to protect our loved ones, and our belongings. It was always about being a hero. Vigilante justice is, after all, just a DIY kind of Security. Who needs On-Star? That’s no fun. Kicking ass is fun.
But the Internet is slowly and unrestrainedly stretching out the tips of its tentacles to touch places we never thought possible in this new wild-west world of electronic business, even places as seemingly business-unviable as the privacy of our own homes. Google recently bought out Nest, a company that puts Internet-connected applications in your home appliances. So now you can pay for your privacy to be invaded. Google is the king of unorthodox visions involving unexplainable business models. They tend to make a lot of money that way. So maybe On-Star does have a chance. Perhaps we should show some southern hospitality to Big Brother by politely putting our guns away and welcoming him into our homes, ushering in a new era of ubiquitous electronic vigilance through “smart systems”, the new face of the Internet. It seems that not only can we forget the parts of the Bill of Rights that don’t exist, like the Right to Privacy, but we can also forget the parts that do exist, like the 2nd Amendment. I may be able to count to 10, but the world is so much simpler without any rules at all.
Room Without a Roof:
Abusing Sobriety :
Fedor 1 :