DIGITAL DYSTOPIA 

I am immensely fascinated by trends in human behaviour. Most of us are predictable. Spend ample time observing the people around, have enough samples and it does become quite easy to see how people react.



There are two references to my chain of thoughts . Minority report , the movie and this anime called PsychoPass. The two share a central theme of predictive policing and are great examples of IOT-ICT union on steroids. I got a little curious about Smart Cities and a little read later, the thoughts just got deeper. 


The asks from a smart city can be summed by the following sentence. I had this sourced from Baba Wiki


” [The goal of a Smart City is to ] improvequality of life by using urban informatics and technology to improve the efficiency of services and meet residents’ needs. ICT allows city officials to interact directly with the community and the city infrastructure and to monitor what is happening in the city, how the city is evolving, and how to enable a better quality of life. Through the use of sensors integrated with real-time monitoring systems,data are collected from citizens and devices – then processed and analysed “


Urban informatics, monitor what is happening in the city, see how it evolves , enable a better quality of life. Data is collected processed and analysed. 


And true to character, my summation sounds exactly like a digital paranoid bloke. I’m not against technology. I don’t mind enjoying the perks it offers. I do love the behaviour trends and lets take a look at the smart way of life from a psychology point of view. 


The integrated social media way of life has left a lot of us emotionally insecure and dependent. We are no longer free to exercise honesty of thoughts and opinions in the free world of the web. We have eyes prying our words, our check ins, our digital trail of a life lived offline. In the name of staying in touch and that constant being together, we’ve also gotten rid of boundaries across people and our own individual space to be what we want to be.


The way around, alternate avatar. It’s been decades and I still have one email address and one profile and one digital avatar. I don’t believe in diversifying my online presence. Truth be told, there are days I still cant write the things I really want to write. I know it would offend quite a lot of people who are connected digitally to me. 

Which brings the next leg of the conversation. As we grow more and more accustomed to digital, our communication skills in real life is also taking a beating. A lot of us are not comfortable at confronting things that oppose our point of view. We are argumentative, yes we are. We crawl and spew url after url to make that point. Digital aggression is usually a tell tale sign of offline frustrations that we struggle to cope up with.

Back to the smart cities. The more we integrate ourselves to the wider grid of a data repository, the more conscious we start to grow around the fact that everything about us gets tracked, stored, monitored , processed and analysed. It has both advantages and disadvantages. 

The nature of what we do also organically evolves with time. Today, the big challenge is to enable and facilitate that move. Once the infrastructure is at place, the software is handy, the tracking is active, have we paused and wondered out loud about the potential possibilities of having access to such vast amounts of personal information?

Contrary to popular belief, Personal opinion is also categorized as personal and sensitive data. 

Case in example : Post the 9/11, this bloke was busted in the Gym by FBI because his gym neighbour thought this friend had ‘Radical’ ideas . We are talking about a day and age where information was limited, connectivity was limited, opinions were shared lesser. 


Historically, each time mankind has tried to do something impressive to ‘Make the quality of life better’, mankind has also learnt to capitalize on the advancements made and add a perverted twist to it. 

It scares me that just reading 100 blogs written by a person, one can frame a strong opinion about a bloke. The knomeets reveals the truth to our opinion about the person vs what they are in real life. Imagine knowing a million things about people on the things that they do on a day to day basis.

Once you have ample samples, prediction is just a little curious temptation away.


Karthik

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