Technology and control: The Eye in the Sky/I

It’s been a few days now since the “big reveal” that a social science researcher sold information from 50,000,000 Facebook users to a third party company (which used said info for various campaign purposes, but that’s another topic for another blog….).

Somehow, we all managed to be surprised by this. What about our right to privacy? How dare our personal information be used without our permission!

How did we all get so naïve about technology and its control over us?

Every time we invent something to make our lives more convenient, we quickly become so dependent on it that we can no longer remember a time we didn’t have the technology.

Remember when you didn’t have a phone?

The internet?

A computer?

A TV?

TV gave us the illusion of choice. Even before cable TV, we still had a handful of broadcast channels. Then came cable TV in all its coaxial glory. Now we had dozens of channels from which to choose — except the programming was pretty much the same.

In fact, the programs we watched, the content and character and genre — these were all controlled by the broadcast companies. Oh, we could switch the channel, to show our disdain for certain shows (and TV companies still obsess over “ratings” rather than “intelligent, creative content).

But we couldn’t control the schedule. It controlled us. We *had* to be home at a certain day and time to watch our favorite shows.

Then came the VHS recorder. Now we could record what we wanted and watch it when we liked. (If we could figure out how to program the damn thing, and if the VHS cassette actually worked properly, andbif it didn’t accidentally record over our other favorite shows).

But the content…the commercials…

Along comes Netflix. Now we can control everything!

Naïve. Of course, we can’t. We are still under control. Like hamsters in a media cage, pushing buttons for pellets. Instant gratification.

I logged into my Facebook page this morning via PC (not mobile, since I’ve removed those apps) to check on things. A message popped up: “Your fans haven’t heard from you in a while!”

It’s been a week. “OMG!” my endorphins scream. “We need stimulation! AAaAaAh!”

We post and post and post, desperate for social validation.

“Like me! Share me! Love me!” we scream at each other on SNS. We share things that strangers should not share, and complain when they don’t (or complain when they do…)

We use technology to attack each other and be attacked, which infuriates us, and so we attack again.

Who controls whom? Or what?

Information is control. Technology is its Tool. We are the Watcher Being Watched, the Eye in the Sky. Judging and being judged. We are the jury and executioner.

Blame Facebook? Blame yourself. Blame human nature.

Wait a hundred years…

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