Past, Present, and Future Technology: Interview Ideas: Wyatt Nevins

The bit of future technology demonstrated in Soonish that caught my interest  was the panel on page 8. It depicts a group of people with strange, sucker like contraptions attached to their heads with antenna extending. The forefront character in frame says “The bad news is that our minds are controlled by hidden rulers with direct access to our feelings. The good news is that I feel just great about it!”

This panel is dystopian in a cool, 1984 style although a tad more outlandish. What’s so interesting about it to me is not only the obvious intrigue that comes with a society who’s emotions are dictated by corporate-shadow government-illuminati types but the parallels to our world. Everyday companies convince millions to give up more and more freedoms in exchange for convenience.

I’m by no means above this. I use Facebook and Twitter and Instagram like everyone else. I give my information away to companies that sell it to advertisers and marketers and scary James Bond villains like Cambridge Analytica. I wouldn’t survive without GPS services on my phone or being able to locate my friends to meet up on campus. The convenience vs. freedom dichotomy is very real and it’s quietly taking away our privacy and autonomy without the general public noticing.

Watching Mark Zuckerberg’s Supreme Court hearing fuels this fire. He not only had a post it note over the camera on his laptop to prevent hackers from looking through, but also one over his microphone. Facebook is one of the biggest culprits of selling users information without their knowledge and the fact that the man behind it is concerned about his own information is being taken makes this feel like a coming epidemic.

If this theoretical future holds implanted devices that give those same companies access to our very thoughts we’ll be sacrificing all of our autonomy and privacy.

This is a modern concern: other generations didn’t have to worry nearly as much about their information and lives being spied on by corporate and government entities. I think it’d be interesting to interview someone who was around before the internet was so widespread and ask them what their concerns for the future were. Not only how they feel about the current and possible future state of monitoring, but problems they never foresaw or problems that faded away with time.

It won’t be terribly difficult to find an interviewee who was around before the internet which is a plus. I’d love to talk to my grandfather who worked for the military developing weapons technology shortly after the internet was invented. He also saw the birth of the World Wide Web in the 90s as well as it’s rise to modern domination. Asking him what he was concerned about throughout 20 year intervals, how those problems shook out and what he’s concerned about now would provide valuable and intriguing insight to the past as well as what’s to come.

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