Orwell Revisted: 3 Ways Tech Will Change the World

As always, the evil scientist laughing diabolically does not realize how his monster will one day wreck him.  He is too giddy about his temporary gains, blinded by the opportunity to finally matter and lord over those who dismissed him. It’s a great storyline, but increasingly a realistic one, where life imitates art.

When Smart phones were born and the information age began to boom everyone knew it would be a game changer–just not quite in the way many had envisioned.  The speed of high tech and ready access of information made studying for midterm exams way easier, but it also put incredible information in the hands of the quotidian. What modern conventional education refused to do, the internet and sheer human curiosity would. The secrets and hidden archives revealled themselves on reams of digital whitespace.

We found out Africa wasn’t poor. China was a true world powerhouse. Russia was a superior military and energy juggarnaut.  World history had been redacted.  We didn’t really need dollars. Radical Islam was created by non-Muslims. The Axis of Evil wasn’t really who we thought it was. Mainstream news, was fact-flavored entertainment. Freedom and Democracy were slogans for military ops. America could create money with decimal points and printing presses. . . So as the world began to ‘figure it out,’ it was only a matter of time before the world order would change. And here we are on the precipice of everything.  But just in case you think tech has done her best, as the cool kids say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

Today we will look at three ways Tech could change your life.

Blockchain For All Occasions

Just recently the World Bank released a report exploring the feasibility of ‘tokenizing’ infrastructure projects.  This would introduce blockchain as a means for issuing loans to developing countries.  It would make it possible for the World Bank and its major Western lenders to keep scrupulous tabs on how finance was used in infrastructure projects.  It would also permit for the bank to freeze tranches if it disapproved or found dumiscrepancies in budgets.  This would almost entirely shutdown the ‘corruption’ or ‘stolen funds’ that plague World Bank loans. The free ride would certainly be over for those pocketing such funds.

The World Bank considers that it could ‘democratize’ the lending process giving lenders more oversight and even local citizens might have access to data about projects in their communities.  The concept of ‘democratization’ in the Western context brings slight unease for what that might actually mean. Nevertheless, such methods might not only be adopted by the World Bank or the IMF, but lender nations might institute the policy too. 

A lot of leaders from poor nations do not know how tamped down they will be in the furure. Its clear, making a pivot for true productivity, manufacturing and independence might mean the difference between being a permenant underclass nation that takes orders perpetually and a full fledged sovereign state.  If you live in a poor or developing country, it will matter a lot, as options for real economic and community opportunity may dissipate and spell gruelling times ahead.

AI Advance: Reading Faces and Minds

And it seems Orwell was not simply an author, he was a prophet. Researchers at the University of Singapore, Stanford University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong have discovered ways to read your mind using brain waves from an fMRI scan and Artificial Intelligence to read your thoughts.  While we watch major companies and retailers pretend they can’t find workers until the AI in their stores and offices are fully set up, something else is brewing in Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality.  Researchers have discovered a noninvasive method to read your mind.  The process uses AI and identifes patterns that convey your thoughts or provide near approximations as pictures.

Could it be the facial recognition software on your phone or face-unlock features are helping science learn to read your thoughts?  Few people know that there are now virtual reality capacities on your mobile phone and computer that coupled with geolocation software and the embeded compass can map your surroundings.  In 2012 Facebook conducted a study on 700,000 of its users to discover whether they could influence emotions and moods using their timeline feeds.

The next time you send a photo, tap details and the meta data collected will offer a surprising window into your own world.  Not only are researchers delving into mind-reading AI, but commercial companies like Neuralink and others.  While you are happily playing virtual reality games, software is recording your reactions, eye movements and coordinating them with thoughts and ideas.  It sounds like a scene from the Minority Report action movie where people were tried for thought crimes.  So much Orwellian truth is emerging in a world where Double-Think may become the norm.

Data: A Composit of Human Behaviot

Perhaps the other unintended byproduct of new technology is how much sheer data can be collected from a singular individual.  Programs that once only logged time and a few other externalities now log a multitude of data points.  Those data points alone might seem like mind-numbing reams of sundry, in composite they create a picture of the user.

Have you turned off the biometric measurement data on your smartphone? You probably didn’t know it was there, quietly collecting biometric data.  Many inocuous apps and operating systems are recording  the number of steps you take in a day.  This data is often coodinated across a number of devices giving the administrator and the almighty cloud an intimitate picture of your day.  It is likely your devices know more about your routines and patterns than you do.  This makes predictive technology, AI and Algorithems a powerful tool in measuring human behavior.  Even your choice to swipe right or left on Tinder or Hinge provide  inportant inforation about your sex and attraction likes and dislikes.  Programs often monitor the length of time one spends viewing an image and where the eyes generally follow. Your purchases and geolocation data will fill in your movements. This information can be useful for advertisers, but also more nefarious actors in both crime and law enforcement.

The massive amount of data leaks, hacks and other information ensures that cyber security for the masses isn’t really at peak. Until that time comes —if it ever does, users will need to be savvy about the information they share using connected devices.  The SmartHome might just be an invitation to at least thirty people plus your loxal and state government to join you at at home–every single day of your life.  As quantum computing advances, our world will change even more.

The fact is, technology and human advancement will continue to change our lives. The truth is that we cannot fully predict how that will play out.  The key is to be aware of emerging technology and all of the ways it can effect you.  You won’t be an expert, but you will have an idea about how things work. Subscribe to a tech journal or scientific newsletter.  Read the instructions carefuly on new tech, from smartphones to earbuds and television sets. Be sure to learn all of the features and turn off the ones you don’t want.  Keep your eye on blockchain, bitcoin and CBDCs whenever they are in the news and finally, read the fine print and dont give any permissions you dont understand.

The future is going to be a wild ride ahead, but the truth is that it already is. Forget everything you thought you knew, be ready for what you need to know now.

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