So your hero sits here on Tuesday afternoon surfing the web for the latest election predictions. “I’m sick of this… enough with the election already… what’s going on in the tech world?” Ironically, the headline at wired.com strikes at probably one of the most important side issues of the election and one of the strongest statements about how our society has lost touch with liberty: “Seven Technologies That Will Make It Easier for the Next President to Hunt and Kill You.”
The all-powerful tyrant. The plot line is probably the most common in science fiction. Darth Vader, the Goa’uld, the Borg, Sky Net… the list goes on and on. Each of these tyrannies possessed tools of unimaginable power to intimidate and subdue their subjects.
Take for instance the automated robot assassin, aka the Terminator. You just plug in your target and stand back. The nice thing about killer robots is that there’s no need to risk a life during the process of suppressing your adversary. It allows the tyrant to kill with impunity. The obstacle is removed, and you don’t have to worry about the mess.
You know, kind of like we’re doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan with our drone program. Of course, I always thought the hardships of war (“the mess”) discouraged folks from seeking conflict. But what do I know…
Another great sci-fi tool used by the tyrant is the tracking device. By now, we all know that the Empire tracked the Millennium Falcon to the hidden rebel base on Yavin Four. It’s incredible that a device could be created that allowed the Empire to track a ship through hyperspace, yet remain undetectable to those on board. Or perhaps, the Empire figured out how to track a signal inherent with the operation of a starship. If that were the case, the all-powerful tyrant would certainly have a way to keep track of individual locations. They would even be able to determine when a gathering starts to form, and take measures to keep the crowd under control.
Hold on… Excuse me a second, my cell phone is ringing…
I’m guess that you are catching on by now. The reality is that the technological tools used by science fiction tyrants exist today. What is more worrisome, the political leadership of both parties seems more than willing to use these tools in an oppressive manner.
An example. The government, through the NSA and warrantless wiretaps, routinely collects and processes information on Americans. (BTW — If you haven’t read the Wired article on the NSA data center program, you’ll be amazed. Google “wired nsa data center augusta.”) Don’t even think about challenging the program; after about four years in the courts, last week the Supreme Court finally heard arguments in the case. The arguments were not over the constitutionality of the surveillance. The arguments were simply over whether citizens had a legal standing to challenge the law. Our government’s story goes something like this:
Warrantless wiretapping is a Top Secret program. The plaintiff cannot prove that their communications were monitored, ergo, the plaintiff cannot prove harm. Case dismissed.
Is this the language of a government working for the people, dedicated to the principal of individual liberty? Or is this the language of a tyrant with a lot of cool technology trying to grow his power over his subjects?
Another story line from science fiction comes into play. Against the oppression of the all-powerful tyrant, a hero always rises. Whether it’s Luke Skywalker, Neo, John Conner or the like, the force of good is always aligned with freedom and liberty, and pretty much always wins. Superman fought for truth, justice and the American way. That sounds like the team for me.
Until next time, I’m off the grid @gregory_a_baker.You Might Also Like:
Posted in Augusta Tek