Saturday, April 09, 2011

Personal Privacy in a Culture of Advanced Technologies

An acquaintance on YouTube who also makes videos on atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, skepticism and science issues sent me a Personal Message (PM) this morning. I change it only in preserving his YouTube identity:

Saw your video about deleting a bunch of your videos. Had to notice that it is all your talking head videos that you have taken down. I have never done a talking head video. I never felt comfortable doing it. I live in the buckle of the bible belt. Friends down the road who are Mormon figured out [my YouTube identity]. They have not spoken to us since. I am not a coward but at my age, I don't need the hassle doing talking head videos might bring to my front door.

I also don't have a lot of faith that the new enlightenment is going to get here before the wall between church and state falls. Very dark times may be in our near future. The more the two newest religions of the Abrahamic god are revealed to be false, the more reactionary will the remaining adherents become.

[Another YouTube secularist channel] is all but gone from Youtube after he was recognized in his community. He used to make great videos, cutting evangelical Christianity to shreds. He took them all down and really can't put them back up.

Just wondering if you got ID'd in your community?


This was my response:

Your question is reasonable and it's not far from the facts, just based on something quite different from the obvious.

I indeed don't want to call attention to myself. It has nothing to do with my atheism. It's a losing battle anyway in this information-rich, privacy-scarce world we are rapidly developing, but that doesn't mean I have to hurry the process at the personal level. I really believe, should technology continue advancing at anything close to its current rate, that in the not too distant future we will have to deal with near-total transparency - for good or ill.

Of course, there's this, which could stop the "problem" while creating a much worse one (in my view) - "I also don't have a lot of faith that the new enlightenment is going to get here before the wall between church and state falls. Very dark times may be in our near future."

I agree, brother. I don't like having a knee-jerk pessimistic view of the future, but we do have to acknowledge the very real possibilities that come with the concern you express.

Yeah, for reasons I'd rather not elucidate on, I'm going to keep a lower public profile. Luckily, here on the West Coast in general and Southern California in particular, I probably have more support than disdain when opposing dogmatic religion. It's a lot more than that specific trifle for me.


So, yes, this is an interesting area of cultural change for us to keep an eye on. I have always supported scientific advances, but we can't lose sight of the fact that these advances will bring consequences; some unforeseen and not all of which we are going to be entirely pleased with. If nothing else we have been an adaptive species and we will likely succeed in doing so again. The changes now occurring are of a type our species has no precedent for using as a template.

Personally, I'd rather deal with some uncomfortable changes due to advanced technologies than to fall back into an "industrial revolution" level society - or worse. I think I'll be just fine with an almost universal lack of personal privacy, but only when such is the case for every person living within the society. When everyone knows all there is to know about others, and others know the same about them - we might actually have more empathy. Might. I have no desire to be on the cutting edge of that particular change.

4 comments:

John Evo said...

For anyone interested in surveying one futurist's view of this issue - http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2007/05/shaping-the-future.html

OgreVI said...

I guess I'm lucky, 'cause I've never really cared much about privacy. I've been trying to live a transparent life, trying not to have any secrets. I figure they can only hurt me. So, I guess I'm the man of tomorrow! That's a pleasant thought (for me, anyway; prob'ly less so for everyone else).

cl said...

Hiya Evo.

What's your YouTube channel? I'd like to check out your content. I won't comment on it or anything like that, I just want to check it out. If not, no big deal, but maybe you can point me to a few YouTuber's whose content you enjoy and/or benefit from?

Roz said...

Said well :) and I'm still optimistic.