The Future of Privacy
Are you upset about the lack of privacy on the web? About how current or potential employers can see those photos of you from college, or worse, high school, of you doing the stupid things you still can’t believe you did back then? Perhaps a little historical perspective is in order.
Back when humans lived in small clans, and even when we lived mostly in villages, everyone knew everyone else’s business, all the time. You couldn’t have an adulterous affair, and expect not to be branded with the letter A. If your acts were too outrageous, you had to leave the tribe or clan, which in some cases meant certain death. Consequently, people moderated their behavior to suit the norms of their society. Yes, it was stultifying, and you can read about that in countless Victorian novels. (There are still places like this, places where entire extended families sleep in the same room, and so nothing is private, not even sex between a husband and wife.)
Towns and cities grew. More people moved away from their farms and small towns to live in these cities. Living alone in a city, you began to feel that what you did was private, and largely anonymous. (Please note that anonymity is often conflated with privacy here.) The result of this privacy/anonymity is the feeling that you could indulge in all sorts of debauched or nefarious behavior without anyone knowing, which is to say, without consequences. And you feel the strongest privacy/anonymity within your own home, your refuge from the outside world. (In the US, this is partly because of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, which states, in part, that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated”.)
Along comes the Internet, and especially Facebook, which has made it ridiculously easy for you to document your own life if you have access to a computer and/or a smartphone. Unfortunately, all your friends can do this, too. So now, any unguarded, embarrassing behavior, even done in your own home, can now be opened up to the scrutiny of the entire world. Global village, indeed! We are, in fact, coming full circle. Or as Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, says, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
Now imagine that the internet is a precursor for humanity’s development. Envision a world where the internet is unnecessary because everyone can tap into the same knowledge base, where everyone has internal access to all knowledge all the time. Envision a world where everyone has fully developed intuitive abilities — especially external clairvoyance (the ability to see everyone’s energy fields), clairsentience (the ability to feel other’s emotions) and telepathy (the ability to know what others are thinking). This is where I think we’re headed.
You’ll have to modify not only your behavior, but also your thoughts, which cause your feelings, or everyone will know. The good news is that you’ll know everything about everyone else, too, so they’ll have to modify their behavior and thoughts, as well. This will result in more fair trade, because everyone will be aware of the consequences of their purchases. It will also result in a lot less crime, as it will be intuitively obvious to everyone that a crime is about to be committed, and people will choose to intervene gently. People will eventually be easier on themselves, too, because they’ll have example of how to change their thoughts, so they don’t have to beat themselves up.