Code Overload Part 4: Our Fragile Individuality by Ron Steinman

Intelligence for me has always been about the ability to make connections. The brain, and how we use it, comes first. The new technocrats think that the computer equals strength, our mortal brains weakness. I suspect the augmenters in our midst, those who are desperate to flood our brains with potentially more than they can handle, are the new true believers. Many dwell in a world dominated by the Internet. This is the echo chamber effect that now dominates original thought. Look at any Facebook page or any other social network. We now allow our thoughts and ideas to flow though a broad pipeline that ends splattered on page after page of communal outreach. Oddly, the mind imprisons itself in public. It is impossible to hide anything in the world of social media. All thought is bleeding publically until dry. Augmenters think people need help. Thus, they rise in society where they exist to let you think you know more without you thinking at all.
At one time, at who knows what personal expense or risk, a person did everything he or she could to disguise or withhold, at least in part, his or her emotions. Recently on Fox there was a program called, “Lie to Me.” It was about an expert in facial recognition who used his skills to tell when people lied, told the truth or were hiding something to protect him, her self or someone else. It was about the technology of facial recognition but always guided by what the main character saw and thus translated into a useful aide to, usually, law enforcement. After all, a smile, a frown, the twist of one’s lips, the arc of one’s head, how a person uses his or her eyes and lips — whether narrow, normal, or wide is important as we distance ourselves further from privacy. How all those moods, motions and modes affect why a person is acting in a certain way, is worth knowing if there is a need to know what is going on inside a person’s head. The question is can a computer tell guilt from innocence. Doubtful.
These new sets of code are becoming increasingly popular as more security conscious elements in society try to determine what is true, what is a lie. The so-called “observation machines” using mainly facial recognition, bodily image recognition and anything else that appears in front of their all seeing eyes will no doubt enhance our ability to protect us from harm. Importantly, business, too, is using these new algorithms to get inside the heads of the consumer to help influence him or her to buy what they are selling. Dubbed “computer vision,” it is another nail in the coffin of privacy. This means potentially, a person will no longer be the rightful owner of his or her thoughts. It is happening as I write.
Code should not be the god that determines how we go about our daily life. To be sure, there seems no apparent way to regulate business and industry. However, we had better train the computer technician to be independent if possible of the machines he or she operates. The price of runaway technology may be too high. We should be sure of how much we give up of ourselves for the sake of progress. At the very least, we should think hard about what we develop in the future and how it will serve us in a way that is truly beneficial. Perhaps it is time to have a code of ethics.



Filed under New Media, Journalism, Film, TV, TV criticism

3 responses to “Code Overload Part 4: Our Fragile Individuality by Ron Steinman

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