Doug Casey on Orwell’s Nightmare – the Darker Side of Modern Technology
by Louis James
L: Doug, that article you emailed about – the one on California cops being able to apply advanced facial recognition technology to everyone in public – is pretty scary. They’re planning the same in Iowa. Shades of Orwell’s 1984. But you’ve said you’re a techno-optimist – are you still?
Doug: Well, I’m an optimist on the future of technology. But the way a lot of it is going to be applied by people in government is a different question. The current developments are quite disturbing, especially the emerging capability of police to use cameras and computers to scan millions and millions of people and identify individuals in seconds. They say it’s to track sex offenders or catch terrorists, but what’s clearly at stake here is the universal monitoring of everyone all the time – just like in 1984. The bad news is that it’s here now, and spreading around the world.
L: Is there good news?
Doug: The good news is that simply using dark glasses, wearing a hat, growing a beard – or cutting one off – may throw the software running these systems off. At least for now, the countermeasures look cheaper than the dangerous technology.
But it could easily get worse. For decades now, they’ve been implanting RFID chips in animals to help their owners track them. There are people who have volunteered to have such chips implanted in themselves or their children, ostensibly to help in case of a kidnapping or similar life-threatening issue. I think it’s just a matter of time, however, before governments get the idea that every citizen should have such a chip implanted – and has to use it for almost everything.