What comes next?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by strantor, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    Ever notice how so many things start out as science fiction, then later the 'fiction' part is no longer applicable?

    I think that successful fiction writers are successful because #1 - they have a way with words, and #2 - because they are able to predict the next step, or several steps ahead.

    George Orwell's "1984", published in 1949, spoke of constant monitoring by "Big Brother", now in 2012 we are fighting off (or, sometimes, rolling over and taking it) a barrage of attacks on privacy and freedom (SOPA, PIPA, CISPA, NDAA, Patriot Act, etc.) and anytime I find myself at a stoplight in Houston, I look up and see a camera looking back at me. If I run the red light, the camera takes a picture of me and I get a get ticket mailed to me by a computer, no traffic cop needed. It also takes a picture of my passenger. How do I know that it doesn't take my picture even if I don't run the light? How do I know that it isn't taking my picture at every light and plotting out my course as I make my way through the city, storing the data in a database somewhere for future use against me? Well, I haven't seen any evidence of that, but it still takes a lot of faith in "the powers that be" that it only does what they say it does.

    I'm not a fiction writer, but I find myself constantly applying that "next step" idea to the things I see. When I gaze into the cold eye of the electronic stoplight Big Brother, this is what I imagine, year down the road:

    In continuance of the trend of trying to "do more with less", they will nearly eliminate traffic cops altogether. In continuance of the trend of automating everything, devices akin to RFID chips will be implanted into license plates that you are required to obtain in order to drive. These license plate will be monitored by satellites which monitor your speed & location, stored in a database which would confirm or deny any alibis you might need in the event of a crime. Chips in your mandatory state-issued ID communicate with the license plate and relay information about the occupants to the satellites. You would have points automatically docked off your drivers license for speeding, making illegal turns, etc, until there are no more points, at which time your car shows up as a red dot on a screen somewhere and one of the handful of traffic cops comes to confiscate your car. Cameras at intersections work in tandem with the satellites to confirm identities of occupants and catch aberrations, like cars who may have altered their plates so they don't show up on the satellites. In continuance of the trend of corporate influence on policy and the trend of ever more invasive advertising, all this information would of course be sold to the highest bidder. Ads for things that you've bought in the past, or competitor's products of things that you've bought, or things that a predictive algorithm thinks that you might be interested in, would be displayed just for you. "Natural Male Enhancement" and "Meet local singles" appears on a billboard at a light that only you occupy, how embarrassing!

    I could go on, but I won't. So, what do you think of my fiction? what's your fiction? Let's hear it!
  2. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
    Soon cars will drive themselves so you won't have to worry about tickets any more.
    Are you sure it's a camera not a sensor? A lot of the lights round here have sensor, including the ones I call ironic pedestrian crossings. When you press the button the lights wait for a gap in the traffic that you could cross in anyway, then stop the cars after the gap. If there aren't any gaps then they change after about 2 minutes.
  3. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    There are cameras, but apparently they've been turned off as of February due to a legal battle. I didn't realize that. I also didn't reaize that there were only ever 50 of them; I see what I think are cameras at literally every intersection, so probably you are right, and most of them are sensors.
  4. Sparky49

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    One day every one will drive morris minors.

    Much better than automatic cars.
  5. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    Defiling of the people's privacy will go down in history as the great evil of this century, in a similar way that we feel that Hitler/Stalin/etc and those attrocities agains mankind were the great evil of the last century.

    Most of the people didn't like what Hitler was doing, but they let him continue and escalate. like the way people don't like having their right to privacy violated but they are (at this point) letting the evil men get away with it.

    Then later the people would hunt down and prosecute the men who assited and enforced Hitler's evil acts. The same way the men perpetrating evil acts of privacy violation (feds, NSA/HS operators etc) this early century will be hunted down and prosecuted for their great evil against mankind when it all catches up with them.
  6. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    I tend to agree overall, but not all areas are subject to privacy. If you are in the open on a public street you have zero expectation of privacy, it is public.

    George Orwell was talking about actually going into the homes with cameras and recording equipment, and double think (which to me is political correctness). At the moment we are doing that to ourselves quite nicely (web cams anyone?).

    If I had to choose I would rather have more rights, it is going to have to take more of the public to become aware what is going on around them.

    Much of it, however, is not the government. A lot of it is private companies. The latest episode is the government co-opting private enterprise (with their willing co-operation) into helping. Big business is a much greater threat in my opinion, money has no morals, and is usually not accountable to anyone.
    justtrying, strantor and Sparky49 like this.
  7. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
    How long would it take the TSA agent to show up and Feel up my wife and kids trying to find bombs and breast milk? If I have to wait two hours just for a self drive car ride to the grocery store for another $20 gallon of milk, I'd just as soon pay the sidewalk toll and walk.

    strantor likes this.
  8. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    Yes I touched on this a bit, but to expound, the government is morphing into a big company; or actually it's the reverse, big companies are morphing into the government - in any case, too many things are happening because there's a profit to be made, and not in the best interest of We The People. Policies & politicians are for sale to the highest bidder to a greater extent, and to a lesser extent, the loudest complainer. The highest bidder is always going to be a big company. The loudest complainer is always going to be the people, but we don't complain enough. Things move along slowly enough that we become boiled frogs, content to let our liberties be taken one at a time.

  9. jimkeith

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2011
    Fascism at its finest!

    Note that our constitution is what has made the US different--a leader and a great place in which to be born, live and work. Now with the erosion of previously guaranteed rights, we are headed into the dark abyss...

    The latest debacle is application of child labor laws to the family farm:
  10. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    I can see this country in 50-100 years being fascist, yet claiming to be entirely capitalist. The world will be overpopulated and sprawl will be extensive. There won't be nearly as much "green" (national parks, landscapes, mountains)--almost all the space will be "developed" to accommodate the ever-increasing population. I don't see flying cars making much of an impact, though the way technology has been improving, I guess I wouldn't be surprised. This is how I picture the world will be in 50-100 years if it keeps going the direction it is now.
  11. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    If you want to see where it's heading check out Britain. NPRS (number plate recognition systems) on all police cars and many traffic lights, all large motorways, that automatically log every car in sight range, and check agains databases for people with unpaid rego fines or warrants etc. Or "people of interest".

    And cameras everywhere in the cities currently being linked to automatic facial recognition systems. You got it, it will log actual people.

    To Bill Marsden, I hear you about having less rights in public places, but how do you feel about an automated camera system all over town that logs YOUR face and knows who you are and where you went, and might have logged you accidentally talking to a "person of interest"?

    To me that crosses the line from "public place" to a rather serious loss of personal rights. An analogy would be if the gestapo stopped you and checked your "papers" on every street corner (shades of 1942) and recorded where you went and who you talked to. The only difference is these days you don't have that minor inconvenience of actually being stopped by the gestapo while they violate your rights to privacy. ;)
  12. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
    The U.S. has the NPRS camera's ,I know they have them in south florida.
  13. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    The NPRS is one thing, in some ways it's almost moral as you choose to register a vehicle, or not to. It's like you bought a license from the govt to allow that vehicle on the govts roads. Where it starts to become immoral is when an automatic system tracks YOUR coming and going by recording the movement of your vehicle.

    And what really cosses the line or morality is recording all your movement based on automatic systems that recognise your face (and without your permission), as you are NOT a registered vehicle...
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  14. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    ...the government takes your money to fund the government roads whether you choose to submit to government monitoring & use the government's roads or not to.
  15. justtrying

    Active Member

    Mar 9, 2011
    well, typically they at least pretend to ask people what particular roads they want to be developed. Was anybody consulted about airport security changes? I am sure the company that makes body scanners is really happy. Same for all those monitoring systems. As was said already, the big brother is not the government trying to maintain an ideology (I could actually understand that on some level), but companies that want to make money. That is all. Worse than was ever imagined. Jose Saramago's "The Cave" tries to address some trends in modern development. But, of course written in our time.

    a noble idea:
    "You must contrive for your future rulers another and a better life than that of a ruler, and then you may have a well-ordered State; for only in the State which offers this, will they rule who are truly rich, not in silver and gold, but in virtue and wisdom, which are the true blessings of life. Whereas if they go to the administration of public affairs, poor and hungering after the' own private advantage, thinking that hence they are to snatch the chief good, order there can never be; for they will be fighting about office, and the civil and domestic broils which thus arise will be the ruin of the rulers themselves and of the whole State." (Plato)
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