Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Paranoia

I never imagined that getting my Masters would produce such paranoia.  But in the joy that is my new studious life, I have encountered new knowledge that has truly made me a paranoid person.  The article that I read and will be cited below, is about how "Intertwingled" our lives are.  We want systems that can do everything for us, in as small a package as possible.  We want a phone, that's a camera and a mini computer, with internet access and a music player.  Okay.  I can live with that.  And had the article stopped there, I would have moved on without a second thought.  But alas, the article continued to talk about some of the small crazy technologies that are now available or being made.  For example, apparently, there is now a Wherify Wireless GPS Personal Locator for Kids.  It claims to be a watch, clock, pager, and tracking device all in one.  All you have to do is use the small key to LOCK it onto your child's wrist.  No need for trust, simply track your child's every move.  
But let's not stop there, when we are talking about the great advances in technology.  It mentions a murder at a Blockbuster store.  How was the crime solved?  How was the murderer caught?  It's simple.  The surveillance camera ACROSS THE STREET caught the whole thing on tape and they were able to detect and capture the murderer.  Okay, my mind can handle and appreciate that.  It was used for good.  Now, I am really not a deep thinker, I usually just read these articles, take what I can from them and move on, but the author pushed me further when he questioned, "Who knows how many hidden cameras populate the homes, businesses, parking lots and roads we pass through each day?"  Okay, how am I supposed to react to that.  My neighbor across the way, could have a camera that sees into my balcony doors.  I am thinking as I read, those blinds will never be opened again.  Who needs natural light?
Continuing on, an English company is developing a toilet that is embedded with sensors that can monitor your diet and health problems.  I don't think I have a need for a toilet that can tell me about what's been going in or coming out.  Again, my mind drifts, what if they start installing these at the YMCA.  I can't pee anywhere anymore or they are going to know everything about me.  I am going to have stop drinking.  
And then I read about Microsoft's MyLifeBits project that combine cameras, sensors, and terabyte hard drives that store and retrieve everything we see, hear, and read.  And did I mention this is all part of the clothing that we wear?  So, now I am thinking, goodness I will go out one night to innocently listen to a favorite band and there I will be in someone's glass camera.  Great.  They will never forget me.  (I'm not sure what they would catch me doing, other than talking nonsense with friends or playing Uno between bands, but seriously, I don't like the idea of being recorded without my knowledge.  It seems to be a major violation of my privacy.)
Hopsitals have a  new RFID chip that they are implanting into patients.  A patients chart will never be lost again.  "Just a scan of your wrist sir, and I will be able to treat you for whatever you need."  Rather than, "Let me look at this chart at the end of your bed and I will be able to help you."   Really, was it that much easier?  Are we going to start implanting babies the moment they are born.  "Oh dear woman, let me just implant this chip in your babies foot and then you can hold her."  AHHH!
Then there is this SENTRI technology that employs the use of microphones.  It can detect the sound of a gunshot, point a camera at the point of origin and then summon the police.  Are they going to try and pick up my voice?
The funny thing is that I live a perfectly acceptable life.  If anyone wants to film me, or voice detect me, or trace me, its their loss (of time), they are not going to find anything too exciting.  And yet, I can't help but feel paranoid.  I can't help but feel like BIG BROTHER is watching.  
That movie Eagle Eye is starting to seem much more realistic and far less fantasy to me.  I'm not sure I really want to know all the technological advances that are being made.  There might be some peace and joy to ignorance.
All of this blog is thanks to the extra 8 hours I had today due to the "snow."  I included a picture of what I peaked through the blinds to find this morning (and I literally mean peaked).  I hope you all are well!

 Morville, Peter. 2005. “Intertwingled.” In Ambient Findability, 64-97. Sebastopol, Calif.: O’Reilly Media. 
 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Two More Reasons I LoVE and LiVE in Nashville

Last night, thanks to John, I was able to go to the taping of the Colgate Country Showdown.  Okay, so you have probably never heard of it (I hadn't), and probably won't watch it when it is on tv, but there is just something fun about going to these tapings.  The live music is always good.  There is SOOO much great undiscovered talent in the world, and I love being in the city that people come to for a chance at the fame.  I was happy sitting on the original, hard, wooden pews of the Ryman Auditorium (although, let's be serious, my buns did get a little sore), and listening to the music.  The starting and stopping of the whole thing is entertaining-and of course the people watching is always great!  

But, of course, all great evenings to an end and I had to bundle up and head out into the cold.  By the time I walked the four blocks to my car, my face and hands were literally frozen.  10 degrees Farenheit with a wind chill of -2.  Brrr!  But I still had a smile on my face.  Why, you may ask?  I will tell you.  Because I teach in Nashville.  And in Nashville, when it's that cold, what do you do?  You cancel school.  (Children apparently can't wait at a bus stop when it's that cold!)  So, I was well aware that I could go home, watch my tape of The Office, curl up in my bed and stay there for a LONG time!  (And stay I did.  Until about noon.  I got some really great reading done!)

So, those my friends, are two more reasons why I LoVE and LiVE in Nashville.