Posted: Mon, November 26, 2012 | By: Hank Pellissier
Imagine: you arrive at the party; you recognize no one; but immediately your internal antennae-and-computer begins to swap mind-files; within seconds the new acquaintances are scanned; you “know” everyone you see; you know who wants to sleep with you, work with you, laugh and/or be friends with you; you know everyone’s curiosities, intentions, memories - everyone’s brain is naked… Fully informed, you enter and mingle.
Total disclosure in a 100% universally psychic, telepathic, omniscient, transparent world? Before you obliterate my imagined utopia, consider the time-saving benefits. Casual sex? No one has to waste words flirting with impossible candidates. Employment interviews? Over in quiet seconds, as experience/compatibility/work ethic are electronically examined and accepted/rejected. Marriage partner? Might take longer, up to a half-a-minute. Private files that are usually off-limits are opened to peruse priorities like “long-term loyalty,” “patience,” interest trends,” and “annoying habits.”
We all waste decades of our precious lives because we can’t intuit our fellow humans correctly. Examples abound: 1) your new boss promised a swift ladder to success, but the manipulative liar stuck you in a dead-end. 2) you wanted an easy hook-up, but now he’s your stalker. 3) your until-death-do-us-partner abandons you after five years for his secret family in Ecuador. 4) your new best friend and housemate turns out to be a penniless psychopath. 5) your new employee is selling company secrets and stealing office hardware. 6) that grad student with the A+ essays - he bought them online.
Etc., Etc. All these mishaps, and millions more, could be avoided in a totally open world.
When I proposed my 100% transparency utopia to my family, my 12-year-old daughter rebelled. “We’d be robbed!” she exclaimed. “Bad guys would know our address and where we hide the key!” No, I explained. Mind-sharing would contain options, with public or private settings for different data, like Facebook. Everyone could be as secretive as they wished. Shy, paranoid, and mystery-loving people could mingle together, laboriously extracting information from each other in old-fashioned Luddite ways.
The world, IMO, is headed in this wide-open direction, following the mantra of technology activists: “Information Wants to Be Free”. How will these changes impact civic, cultural, intellectual life? In myriad ways:
* Someday we’ll all recognize instantaneously who the smartest person in the room is, because her huge hippocampus will be visible to us. (brain-scan devices will publicly expose our mental and emotional capabilities)
* Celebrity “skeletons in the closet” will romp wildly in the spotlight - anyone craving “public” fame
will be fully-disclosed, to satisfy fan curiosity. Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian pioneered this, with explicit sex tapes that gained them tabloid attention.
* Anyone shaking the hand of Presidential, Governor, or City Council candidates, will instantly upload their policy, integrity, and leadership mind-files. “Inside information,” so you know who you really want.
The majority of humans want to tell everyone in the world who they are, and they want to be loved for the truth of it. What is “intimacy” after all? Revealing one’s vulnerable self and being accepted for it, no matter how disgusting our secrets are. (A short list includes: criminal and cowardly acts and thoughts, secret addictions, unsociable masturbatory fantasies, i.e., pedophilia, necrophilia, coprophilia, etc., self-hatred, neediness, self-destructiveness, fear of loneliness and unlovability, profound guilt, etc.) Humanity hides the habits that depress us with shame, but we’re ending this “burqa” behavior. here’s why: our loathsomeness is increasingly revealed as common and shared, via the internet. We are losing our alienating uniqueness, and gaining community. It’s the trade-off we want; the motivator that impels us to post crazy photos on FB, youtube our confessions, and blog.
Rick Falkvinge, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg are presently the trinity saints of transparency. Falkvinge started The Pirate Party in Sweden in 2005; today it is international, and gaining in influence. The German pirate platform calls for 100% state transparency, freedom of information, and massive opening of markets and reform of patent laws. Assange’s WikiLeaks email-exposes of state departments, corporations, and intelligence contractors, aim for the political democratization and radical transparency - the main message on it’s website for visitors is “remind your Government who’s in charge.” Mark Zuckerberg’s invention has been credited with aiding Arab Spring; his stated goal is “making the world more open and connected,” and he recently claimed that “the age of privacy is over”.
Business and government transparency needs to precede personal disclosure, to avoid totalitarian oppression. Two IEET writers (at least) have recently addressed this. Yesterday, Jamais Cascio decried the opacity of big oil companies, and he warned readers about:
“a world of asymmetrical transparency, where those with money and power can hide themselves but know whatever they want about you.”
Giulio Prisco’s IEET article on March 25, 2012 - “Watching Big Brother: reality politics” - proposed an inventive, turn-the-tables surveillance solution. He suggests that:
“Let’s put all politicians and administrators in a large glass house tulle of television cameras and let’s watch them 24/7… Everything they do, everything they say in official meetings and behind the scenes, everything they write, every wink and every smile, every fart and every belch, must be captured by cameras and microphones, streamed to the world, and recorded.”
Prisco’s radical, satirical proposal successfully illustrates the brewing demand for absolute transparency in high high places - the 99% is beginning to insist on full access to the machinations of the 1%.
Technically, 100% inter-personal openness would be attained via a multitude of methods. Brain-scanning and mind-files have already been mentioned. The abilities of psychics might also be examined. Michael Persinger - a Canadian neuroscience researcher - has been exploring the ability of electromagnetic waves (ELF) to carry telepathic and clairvoyant information, since 1974. Additionally, personal “nano-clouds” could perhaps be sprayed to advertise information - we’ll waft who we are in the wind.
Metaphorically, for me, the “nakedness” of mental transparency is identical to physical nudity. The complex data of our yearning craniums won’t be shrouded any longer, won’t be buried and disguised under fabricated obstacles and artifice. Like the moles, muscles, veins and glads of a free-swinging naturist, we can share everything we are in the future, warts and all. Light will shine on us and through us; our brains, encapsulated lonely and tight for aeons, will sing the songs of our selves, and we will find, past the fear, that we are all-forgiven and wholly together.
Undrape! you are not guilty…
Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!
I realize this brief essay has merely nibbled at the edges of an enormous topic. Please contribute your suggestions and opinions in the comment section below.