Have you already heard or seen it? No? Then it’s about time! Because the topic is enormously current: online transparency and big data. Nowadays most don’t read the terms and conditions, one click and everything is agreed and ping! you have a new service, app or whatsoever. I do that, too. But what happens with your data after this one tiny click…
And then there’s often a great shock when you read the news and learn that the provider sells ones very own personal data and others can use it to whatever extent. Well, if the people do find it shocking, which isn’t always the case, as it has become second nature.
Data and the information laying behind it is the new currency. Is this bad? To let others know about my preferences so that my needs can be met and satisfied? Of course not, but what about all the other bits of my life they get and sell in the process? After all, it is mine, isn’t it? When all the experiences we had are shared and public, what will the rest of world say? And what about the parts that are secret, private or intimate? Is there a line to be drawn or would everything be better, advanced and closer to perfection?
That is the belief and goal of The Circle, an increasingly growing global enterprise (similar Google and Co.) wanting to connect everyone and everything, to hoard knowledge and share it.
Sharing is caring. Knowing is good, but knowing everything is better. Secrets are lies.
At first, these words seem to have a point, a certain depth. They drag us with them. This is how Mae Holland gets drawn to the huge concern. Before working at The Circle, she was not a valued member of something great. She was just one of many without her potential fully used. Now, at the Circle, things are different. The inventions there are meant to help the people, to make their lifes safer by implanting chips into bones in order to stop child abduction or abuse, by creating cameras so tiny and mobile that one can oversee human rights movements in the Near East and thus getting material to shut down dictatorships. By laying bare every movement and word of elected politicians for the public to check if they live up to what was promised at the elections. Seeing everything, sharing everything, knowing everything, those are the Circle’s dogma, which stands behind their every move and invention and ultimately makes them stand above states, laws and human rights like privacy.
“Knowledge is a basic human right. Access to all possible human experiences is a basic human right.”
With that, The Circle justifies saving everything their cameras see and hear and make it accessible in one Cloud. Whether it’s Mae’s parents having sex at home or a simple kayaking trip where Mae wants to be on her own and relax. The alarmingly scaring thing is, that although Mae gets signs of her parents and close friends, that they don’t feel comfortable with all that supervision, that it drives them crazy to be flooded by hundreds and thousands of comments, that there’s less and less truly honest communication and interaction, she still sees The Circle as the only salvation. Soon it will be able to solve problems like hunger and illnesses. When The Circle will be closed, everything will be transparent and laid bare, everything will be available and connectable. Perfect and without flaw.
Is that what we really want? Is that the way we’re heading?
That’s why I think reading Dave Egger’s piece of work or watching the movie with Emma Watson and Tom Hanks should be on your To-Do-List, to make us aware. After all, there is all that information flowing around to make us that.