Perhaps, the smartest life to live in a smarter world of the 21st century would be one without a smartphone.
In his book ‘Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnological Revolution,’ the political scientist Francis Fukuyama said, “….instead of becoming an instrument of centralization and tyranny, it (the internet) led to …. the democratization of access to information and the decentralization of politics. Instead of Big Brother watching everyone, people could use the PC and Internet to watch Big Brother, as governments everywhere were driven to publish more information on their own activities.” The book was written in 2002 when the worldwide web was being popularized around the world and it was just the beginning of internet revolution that was being weaved in the hands of an influx of dotcom services. Perhaps, this was the early motivation of revolutionizing internet in the human lives, or at least the public was made to so believe by the world authorities. But this is not in vague anymore.
The online world is now widely used to extract information about people, their lives, and what they like to do and what they dislike, where they go and who they meet. The once service providers have today been a business enterprise, and the once customers of the service have turned into the products of the enterprise. We have the advertisements of the sort of products floating on our webpages we need. With the emergence of Meta, Facebook has turned into the advertising company of its parent organization. Data manipulation and leveraging the data has been a day to day addiction for the web giants.
The most widely used web service today is recognized to be the Google, founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 2002 to help the public search and find anything floating on the internet from anywhere of the world. But its motive changed almost overnight and is accused of cooperating with the US government including the intelligence agency and military service. It started since 2004 when it bought Keyhole and turned it into Google Earth. Prior to that, as a company, the Keyhole had its root in the videogame technology and it was struggling to survive and eventually got noticed by the CIA which revived it by investing an unknown amount of money. Later, Keyhole was reborn as Google Earth by the Google. Now, integrating with the CIA, the Google tries its best to keep the company covered by an aura of altruism, when the company’s executives aggressively pursued strategies to become the Lockheed Martin of the internet age.
In 2010, as a sign of just how deeply Google had integrated with US intelligence agencies, it won an exclusive, no-bid $27m contract to provide the NGA with “geospatial visualization services”, effectively making the company the “eyes” of America’s defense and intelligence apparatus. Even before that, the US government integrated the Keyhole software in the operational service and deployed to support US troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the shock-and-awe campaign to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
The purpose behind the creation of Facebook, one of the most widely used social media now, is highly controversial under some hypotheses. The first one is related to the proprietorship of Facebook, which according to our conventional knowledge, belongs to Mark Zuckerberg, as a co-founder of the media. But there are believable rumors that Zuckerberg is just hired to operate it and an agent of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIA) that actually owns Facebook.
“According to the Department of Homeland Security reports, Facebook has replaced almost every other CIA information gathering program since it was launched in 2004. Much of the credit belongs to the CIA agent Mark Zuckerberg who runs the day to day Facebook operation for the agency. The decorated agent, codenamed the Overlord was recently awarded the prestigious medal of intelligence commendation for his works with Facebook programme, which he called the single most powerful tool population control ever created.”, read Brooke Alvarez, a news presenter of Factzone.
The CIA deputy director Christopher Sartinsky is believed to have said that, “After years of secretly monitoring the public, we were astounded so many people would willingly publicize where they live, their religious and political views, an alphabetized list of all their friends, personal email address, phone numbers, hundreds of photos of themselves and even status updates about what they were doing from moment to moment. It is truly a dream come true for the CIA and it’s the reason we invented the Internet.”
When it was proved that Facebook eavesdrops at our conversation, it struggled hard for several years to convince people that their information is safe with them. But it failed and received a $5billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission. Yet, Facebook’s curiosity didn’t calm down and it got even more outrageous. Now, Facebook wants access to the brainwaves of its user. Announced few years ago, the Facebook Reality Labs is working with scientists at the University of California San Francisco, who ran an experiment using signals from electrodes that had already been placed on the brains of epilepsy patients. By monitoring and recording the signals generated by a series of multiple-choice questions, the system was able to predict the correct answer with up to 76 percent accuracy.
If it succeeds, Facebook believes, we can complete actions like ‘delete’ and ‘select’ just by using our minds. Perhaps, we can even type a message or note only thinking. Frederike Kaltheuner worries, “Gathering data from raw brain activity can be used to make inferences about thoughts and mental processes — whether they are conscious or not. This could put people in great risk, and could be used to influence, manipulate and exploit them.” So, in the year of information technology, monopoly of information may lead to the practice of virtual slavery where it will be possible to control a population. We are actually heading towards an era when the tech giants will have more power in their hands than a politician. The 45th president of the US, Donald Trump, the most powerful person of his time in the office, had his Facebook page disabled for a time being. What does this intrusion of freedom of voice imply?
To understand the consequence of such interference in personal liberty, let’s imagine a futuristic scenario where certain tech giants like the Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple will have the monopoly of information. We may have our smart gadgets including the phone, credit card, TV, car secured through the apps launched by the tech giants. As it is now almost evident that these giants are highly likely to operate their actions worldwide and alongside the global elites, they will have power above and control over the local government of any country; rather than vice versa. So, if people ever rebel the international laws stipulated by the global elites or dare to act rebelliously against their interests, they may lose access to their smart gadgets for which they would already have paid a lot.
We will ask our smart phones to switch itself on and make a call, but the system won’t let it listen. We will ask our TV to open up the screen and jump to a random channel so that we can watch certain program, but the system won’t allow it to obey. We will ask our smart car to unlock the door for us and drive somewhere, but the system won’t permit it play its role. In short, we will be stripped off the liberty of voice and freedom of action in exchange of a smart and easier way of life. We are actually buying slavery with the money which we pay for some smart tools and gadgets.
Perhaps, the most affected part of our life will be our economy. We are rapidly going towards an era of crypto-currency and online transaction through some enterprises like PayPal, PayTM, Payoneer, Skrill, and we can access to our account of these apps only through an email account which is again controlled by tech giants like the Google and the Yahoo!, or something else. In that case, when the world economy and our financial transaction would entirely go online in future, we will not be the sole owner of our currencies, but the enterprises will ostensibly have a share of the proprietorship. So, what if the tech giants do not allow us to access in those apps by which we can transact in case we don’t obey or start rebellion of the global elites’ interests? Since the Internet giants can within a moment infringe our accounts, and seize all the crypto-currencies, it is not impossible for a billionaire to become an impoverished person overnight.
With all these scenarios on mind, we can verily predict the dystopian science-fiction era coming true and there will again be class conflict between the rich and the impoverished. The age of dataism is here, and since we chose to stay connected with our beloved ones, we had to pay the price – data. With all our data in the wrong hands, we are hardly safe and secured and vulnerable enough to be exploited and manipulated for the global elites’ interests. Whatever has arrived and got mingled with our lives can now hardly be uprooted. No matter how much we strive, we can never go back to the days where there will be no internet, and no virtual life and world. So in lieu of that, we have to look for alternatives since the accuracy of the online advertisements is an indicative of how much and how well they know of us.