Something to Ponder

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Unfortunately, it’s well past my bedtime, and as tired as I am a good nap is in order.

What keeps me up late right now, when I should be asleep with my beloved?  Unfortunately, one of the few things that can keep me up so late:  A good book.  A book so good that it has me reconsidering something I’ve been debating about for a while:  removing myself from the net.

The book in question is Freedom by Daniel Suarez, and is the second book in what I hope will be a series.  (Just for the record, you have to read the first book by Dan, Daemon – otherwise all the stuff that happens is just science fiction:  It could stand on it’s own, but it loses a lot of key points.)  The series tells how a video game programmer that dies of cancer creates a program that, quite literally, changes the world – giving gamers, hackers, and geeks like me power, stripping it away from corporate America, and how next major war might just be an economical one.

While it could easily be dismissed as fiction (if not science fiction, a lot of which the latter book encompasses – mainly due to our technology simply not being up to what is being done in the book), a lot of ideas – ranging from political ideologies based on your class or monetary stature to how farming has become more manufactured and less grown.  The biggest of these theories – and the most scariest – is one that not only exists today, but that everyone can easily understand and see, yet don’t pay enough attention to:  The vast amounts of data that exists on computers about us:  Because of how this artificial intelligence operates, people can easily see data as they walk by a person. (For the geeks out there, they’re wearing glasses that project sound and utilize augmented reality – in way’s i’d really like to see come true.  Telling someone you’re a 56th-level sorcerer takes more weight in this book…)

Corporate America – the people many of us work for, do business with, apply to, etc – can dig a ton of information at their fingertips faster than they ever could before – everything from our bank account holdings to the time of day we picked our nose last could easily be dug up and put out there for people to know.  Even worse is the stuff we supply ourselves:  The social networks that we post photos, video and comments to can be and are frequently used against us.  You can’t just use any ol’ sailor _______ talk anymore, and forget about putting that picture of you skinnydipping off of Niagra Falls, because if Corporate America don’t like it, they could easily come back to bite you in that bare butt.

The thing that sucks is what you might miss out on – so many of use now use Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to communicate our party plans, get-togethers, and exclusive communications.  Why send a text message or call someone when you can just post a shout-out online?  Yeah, you still have to call the people without computers or the net, but it makes it difficult if you want to get something going tonight.  Even if you stripped away the extra fluff – all the games, ads, cute graphics and whatnot – in other words, everything that makes these site more than just glorified bulletin boards – you still have those base things.

So why throw it out?  Why get rid of my connections on Facebook and MySpace? 

The answer is pretty simple, when you think about it.  People are using the very information we throw online against us, and it comes back to us when we look for work, apply for loans or do anything else to which requires more than sleeping.  Because of how much data has become so easy for people to find out on others, Corporate America is using my media against me.

And I, unfortunately, fed the monster, with pictures and words (thankfully no video), ideas and phrases that, combined with my medical, driving, and credit history that reinforce the idea that I am not someone they want.

This is not saying that I will or won’t – I may just look for ways to clean my stuff up, if possible.  That said, if I do, don’t be surprised…

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