Sunday, October 13, 2013

There's no escape

I keep this blog and Twitter account, and I edited a book on pervasive ICT, but I'm not a hard-core techie. I don't read any tech magazines, I don't go out looking for sources for this blog. I just scan a few sources daily or weekly, including The New York Times, and post interesting bits here or on my @TeachRCR Twitter account. My point is that I pretty much stumble across these things, which means they are pretty close to the line of common knowledge. Sometimes, like today, I find it a bit scary how creepy the in-the-pipeline technologies are, and I wonder what's out there, just a few steps behind.

All of that was triggered by these two stories in the Times. The first is just about a handful of Google Glass wannabes. Irritating, invasive, privacy-decomposing - but we're getting braced for the flood.
But along with it comes this:
Somebody give me a "Come on, now!"

Here are my two favorite passages:
The more invasive audio mining also has the potential to unnerve some consumers, who might squirm at the idea of an unknown operator getting an instant entree into their psyche.
That's an understatement.
“It seems to me that the biggest risk of this technology is not that it violates people’s privacy, but that companies might believe in it and use it to make judgments about customers or potential employees,” says George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. “That could end up being used to make arbitrary and potentially discriminatory decisions.”
I don't know about you, but to me this is a no-win proposition. If the software works as advertised, it's the most severe invasion of privacy we're likely to see until Isaac Asimov's pscyho-probe comes around. If it doesn't work, but people believe in it, it'll be another source of confusion and another tool in the power-abuser kit.

No comments: