The point of not owning a smartphone, despite the obvious oxymoron with the name in dumbing down society, is to prevent big tech from tracking and storing location data, selling it the lowest bidder, and facilitate target marketing based on browsing habits. While a tablet may seem like a viable option to staunch the flow of proprietary data swapped with all the subtlety of a Bitcoin mogul “conveniently” forgetting the password for a lucrative crypto-exchange and billions of dollars hanging in the balance, there is no escaping the unrelenting human and bot data brokers of Silicon Valley.
Digital conglomerate Alphabet, Inc., the parent corporation of the infamously invasive Google brand of applications and surveilling empire, recently launched a Maps software supplement providing an unsolicited timeline for account holders. With the creep factor of 4 out 5 bubble window vans with a Southwestern motif painted on the side, the company processes data from smartphones and devices in furnishing a CIA dossier level summary. Through the wonders, magic and binding properties of the ambiguous “terms and conditions”, end users are at the mercy of Google’s mining technology simply by using Gmail, Maps, or Drive.
The bots of dissent provided this disturbingly thorough log of activities in warning that Chinese and North Korea prisoners of totalitarianism are not only ones facing a nefarious overlord.
While individual propaganda catering to the addiction to instant gratification carpet bombs the younger generations, the normalization in dissolving privacy is part of the devious ulterior motive to promote groupthink and make individuals more conductive to a hive mind collective. From a business standpoint, this equates to teeming advertising market, as the tech behemoths can approach Fortune 500 companies and literally hand over a specified behavior manifest in identifying and isolating specific behavior patterns. As the unsettling threshold has already been crossed in that it is common knowledge that devices are “listening” and responding to live conversations of end users, there exists no respite to the constant barrage of marketing espionage.
If the Chinese template of guerilla data harvesting supplements the development of advertising intelligence, the laboratory of private business certainly provides the dissident government with concepts that only tighten the restrictive shackles on unfortunate citizens. Within the ecosystem of greed and discontent, the organized chaos is only exacerbated by the reluctance of consumers to hold organizations accountable for exploiting the undeserved trust.
Where the oblivious intersects with the indifference and arrogance pervades, this is the environment where Google thrives and fills in the blanks for a population open to coercion as the collective IQ plummet.
While the information age reaches staggering heights of processing power and storage space, unfortunately, the chief bi-product of the era is the absorption of creativity and unique thought. In a rich get richer and poor get poorer scenario, as specification increases, the dumbing down of culture proportionally expands as society succumbs to automation. As artificial intelligence and bots are given more latitude to make decisions, it is crucial that those still with the ability to for abstract thought practice vigilance in fostering accountability. Within the current technological trajectory, “I’m sorry Dave, I can’t do that,” is still a distinct possibility.