Sunday, February 23, 2014

The End Of Privacy. The Beginning Of Transparency.

It is becoming abundantly clear that our personal privacy has come to an end. Not through the information we willingly share in social media,  but in the information that is gathered about us. From our Web history to the GPS in our cars, targeted advertising, or searches; the list of our digital footprints is vast.

Nor is there any way to avoid using digital technology or do anything about the information gathered without our knowledge or consent. Big companies are simply too powerful to engage in privacy lawsuits.  Applicable digital privacy laws are not in place and are unlikely to catch up to the development of digital technology,  which surpasses our understanding of it.

Many are not aware that digital information is transmitted at 1/3 of the speed of light or that the stock market for example,  is virtually out of the hands of humans; many trades occur through computer algorithms, also known as microtrading or high frequency trading.

Another significant problem is that much of our most sensitive information (medical, financial) entered about us is handled far beyond the comprehension and training of those put in charge to store and protect it. Especially problematic is when the information entered relies on verbal communication or is entered incorrectly,  whether through human error or for unethical personal gain.

The revelation about the NSA should not have come as a surprise to anyone.  Technology is only as good or evil as the intent of those who use it. As it develops and we become increasingly globally connected, the speed of new technology advances faster than anyone can keep up with.

I do not foresee a Borg-like totalitarian system of control that so many are frightened of, but a more transparent future in the digital age. Ideally,  NSA like watchdogs will develop that will actually benefit the majority and monitor verbal and digital communication to help prevent crimes against humanity.

Overheard

It was two months before Christmas and the world was caught in the frenzy of consumerism, so I decided to visit the aquarium to watch and sketch some silent fishies.

A tank, obviously inspired by Finding Nemo, exhibited tiny starfish adhered to the glass. I was mesmerised by their miniature perfection and stepped closer to have a better look.

Two women were standing next to me, when one remarked to the other: "Will you look at that; they're decorating already!"

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Meteor Strikes Earth"


The apocalyptics are worried about large asteroids striking the earth, which currently we cannot do a thing about.

Bunkers will be absolutely useless. The only difference between those on the surface and those in bunkers if something very large were to impact earth?

None.

Impact. Extreme heat. Vaporized. In less time than we can imagine.

Hope this satisfactorily answers any search terms.

For more information:
www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Escape Velocity


I have chosen to take some time off to travel and to research and discuss potential solutions for what we are facing. Within a decade we are entering a global crisis, which if not immediately addressed will lead to a situation that humanity is unlikely to recover from. Unpredictable weather patterns and weather fluctuations will affect even major modern cities, which have no technology in place to deal with climate change.

Lack of transportation, unhygienic conditions and resulting illness will make all of us suffer. Even the very wealthy will not be immune to pandemics; viruses and bacteria do not discriminate. In fact, if mankind turns itself into a self-created endangered species, the very poor are the most likely to survive. While this may sound harsh, their immune systems are better equipped to deal with a potential post-civilized world and are already used to using grocery carts as an environmentally friendly mode of transporting their belongings.

Scientists are desperate to talk to each other, come up with new ideas and research for science and humanity´s sake, but are prevented from doing so by international patent and non-disclosure agreements. The primary and immediate solution is to start funding research into new technology without an immediate financial benefit. Like bankers and investors, scientists themselves need to create networks to freely exchange thoughts and ideas across geographic and disciplinary boundaries.

If there was any colonized or terraformed planet available I would move, but I am stuck on this beloved pale blue dot and cannot climb into a comfy spaceship to reach the escape velocity required to overcome the gravitational pull of mankind´s irresponsibility and self-destruction.

We are facing a sisyphean struggle, but at least I hope to count myself among those who tried to make this world a more livable place.