Monday, February 25, 2013

Big Brother And His Drones: What YOU Can Get Out Of Surveillance and the Machine Future

It's time to face facts – technology advances by harnessing human drives, and the most primal are sex and death.

Drones and cybersex. So, what can YOU get out of it?

Pornography and the military-industrial complex are often the prime funders of technological research. Without DARPA, we wouldn't have the internet, and without the urge to stream porn, we wouldn't be constantly trying to improve data compression techniques.

Without lust, there'd be no YouTube – and without the urge to achieve maximum effect with minimum effort, we wouldn't develop labour saving devices. We wouldn't develop technology to extend our reach, and refine our apparent control over the situation. Without apparent scarcity and rarity, we wouldn't consider certain things precious, and we certainly wouldn't care about loss. We wouldn't care about extending our sphere of influence, or expanding our territory.

Here in the UK, we're seemingly constantly under the eye of CCTV. According to the BBC, one London Borough, Wandsworth, has more cameras than Dublin, San Francisco, Johannesburg and Boston COMBINED. Manchester has more than 4 times the number of CCTV cameras than Paris.

Where is your attention?
Leaving aside the use of drones in current conflicts across the globe, the increasing militarisation of police forces may be reaching its zenith in California. A County Sheriff wants to buy one for use over his area, right over your back yard. The EFF and other civil liberties organisations are protesting however.

Ultimately drones – small unmanned aerial vehicles - are here to stay, whether or not they're weaponised or otherwise. Futurist and military strategist John Robb points out that they could be used for logistics and other things – a Dronenet, or 'internet of drones'. Combine this with the advances in 3D printing, and crowdfunding platform,s like Kickstarter and IndieGogo, things are going to get interesting pretty fast.

And all of these things are about extending influence, increasing reach -technology as the extension of the individual. So as the individual gains more reach, the collectives like governments or trade bodies seek to increase or preserve their own – look at the RIAA or the movie industry.

Strip all the technology away, and you're dealing with an empowerment narrative; about the have and have nots – the 99% and the 1%. Twas ever thus, only now the 1% can do things that the 99% of previous generations could barely dream of.

However, fortunately for us, the 99% can also do things that the 1% don't have the mobility to deal with. They're institutionalised, hard-wired into certain ways of operating that will take months, years, maybe even decades to change.

Here then, are things you can do:

  1. Go out and find people like you, preferably face to face – though you can use the net to find them and keep in touch.
  1. Explore your local area, look for unused spaces – ways to extend your reach and that of those you care about. Whether this be setting up or joining a group which accords with your goal, or filling a gap and seeing what's missing, you get the idea.

  2. Work on creating value that's not tied to methods of traditional exchange, whether making art or building equipment, helping out those in need, extract yourself from defining your worth in terms of money or social celebrity. Look at the reach enjoyed by therapists, counsellors, teachers, spiritual leaders, or other people who are experts and both influence and creating influence. Look at the people you know who are listened to, and loved.
  1. Give Big Brother Something To See – take advantage of the way everything is seen and communicated. Show the world what you are capable of, for no other reason than that's who you are.
  1. Reuse, remix, recycle – perhaps the most important maxim, this isn't JUST about being about environmentally friendly. This is about the inventiveness and adaptability of being human. If it's one thing humans are good at, it's producing waste.

    Whether that be trash, abandoned ideas or even unpalatable concepts or areas of thought, there are places no-one goes, or doesn't like to use because it's seen as dirty, immoral or wrong to look at them too deeply. But if you can use that, go there and create something useful from that, you'll find that suddenly there's a whole plethora of options and ways to0 become better at who you are.
Lead into gold folks.

Be seeing you.

- VI

Craig 'VI' Slee is a Consultant & Theorist dealing with Mythology, Folklore, Storytelling & Culture.

Currently, he serves as Writer and Content Developer for FoolishPeople, an internationally acclaimed immersive theatre company who create ritual experiences, books and films. Their latest work is STRANGE FACTORIES, which will be released to worldwide distribution late 2013.

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

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