Privacy is dead

Smart dust signals the end of privacy. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and it looks like privacy is dead.

Well, maybe not yet but its expiration date is definitely fast approaching with the emerging media technology. Now this may not necessarily be a bad thing, or at least not a completely bad thing. I mean when you look around at the progress we’ve made and how we’ve already willingly given up so much of our privacy to better communicate with others around the world, this comes with a lot of advantages.

Smart dust researchers say their theory of monitoring the world — however it’s realized — will benefit people and the environment.

More information is better information, Pister said.

“Having more sensors improves the efficiency of a system and reduces the demand and reduces waste,” he said. “So all of that is just straight goodness.”

Hartwell, the HP researcher, says the only way people can combat huge problems like climate change and biodiversity loss is to have more information about what’s going on.

“Frankly, I think we have to do it, from a sustainability and environmental standpoint,” he said.

But like it or not, it seems inevitable that our trajectory is increasingly less privacy and greater communication. And, as the article linked to above suggests, smart dust is looking more and more like the thing that’s ultimately going to kill privacy. A few years ago I even began writing a screenplay about that very murder.

“People ask me what my job is, and I say, well, I’m going to save the world,” he said.

Or destroy it. Either way though, it will be an exciting ride.


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