Tag - privacy

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A Silent War
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World on a Wiretap

A Silent War

It seems that after a bout of good weather, the nights are filled with secret military operations. At least they are down here on the South Coast. I’ve talked about the strange occurrences to neighbours on occasion, and they too have noticed the sonic booms, the low flying helicopters. Yet, through some bizarre reasoning, a dysfunctional subconscious logical compensation, despite the fact that a vast majority of the choppers and jets are black and unmarked, most people on my street are convinced it’s simply the coastguard.

Perhaps I’m just unfortunate enough to live directly under a flight path for military exercises. Nevertheless, the incidents are increasing week by week. What might have been a one-off event, has developed into hours and hours of covert airborne activity most nights of the week. Nowadays, I’ve almost become accustomed to the noise, and it rarely wakes me, unless a chopper decides to hover above my particular roof, which has happened in the past. I’ve even managed to catch a few at the brink of dawn, they’re smothered with all sorts of transmitters and dishes. I’m guessing they have heat sensors and the like, and have infrared records of a highly paranoid fiction writer, typing in his spare box room.

The jets, on the other hand, fall into two camps. There’s the familiar slow crawl of the jumbos, flying off to Europe, and then there are the military planes. These too can be subcategorised, and simply by the sound they make. The most common roar across the skies, but you can hear them from miles off. Then there is the other kind, a strange whining coming from nowhere, it just arrives all of a sudden, rattling windows and roof tiles, and then it’s gone in seconds flat, just as fast as it arrived.

On bright clear days I’ll often make a point of looking up at anything flying by, just to familiarise myself with different craft, comparing their appearance to their sound. None of which generate anything like the nightly ear piercing screams, buffered by the deathly silence, that always marks their mysterious arrivals and departures. For a while I began to wonder what was so important about this little town I live in, and which residents could accrue such interest or even suspicion, and why. And then I realised the truth, that this is happening everywhere, in every town, in every country of the world.

We are already under martial law, we just haven’t noticed yet, a global military coup conducted under the cover of the night, every night. I suspect that more people have noticed than let on. I guess, much like myself, they’d rather sleep and dream of freedom, than accept that what has been hard fought won, can as easily be lost.

World on a Wiretap

Privacy is dead, long live the machines.

I’d say that most of us, at least once in our lives, have experienced déjà vu. Some might think it’s just the mind playing tricks, whilst others swear it’s the manifestation of an untapped sixth sense. Then there are those who purport the world to be a simulation, as readily discussed in quantum theory, that our lives are nothing more than a holographic sham. At the other extremity of the sociological spectrum, there’s the Mandela Effect, an idea no doubt ridiculed by any self-respecting quantum buff.

The double-slit experiment, according to quantum theorists, shows that the mere act of observation can completely alter the outcome of an event. If this is so, might it also be true that the nature of such power must increase to some degree, with fame or even notoriety?

To be seen is to be believed.

There’s an old German TV movie that I Like to watch from time to time, if only for a little emotional insurance. As far as I can tell, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s World on a Wire (Welt am Draht) is one of the earliest attempts by the mass media to explore the precepts of Simulation Theory, and to some degree, despite the widespread ridicule, the Mandela Effect.

We live in a tightly controlled surveillance culture, and those who have embraced technology with both hands, and cannot imagine life without their smart-phones and tablets, will most likely embrace the idea with all their hearts. The media will spin the story over many years, until Warhol‘s infamous prediction is proven true. We’ll all famous, not for fifteen minutes, nor even fifteen years, but for our whole lives,  living as public faces with no private thoughts, and nothing in our hyper-connective society left to the imagination. For every tiny aspect, every detail of our mundanity is surreptitiously recorded. If one were to collect every piece of visual data for just one subject, one nondescript individual life, it would equal the entire collective history of cinema.

Instead of an observable reality confined within a simulation, it is the audience that are being simulated. Artificial intelligence has proven to be far more efficient than mere human observation. We are the willing victims of state voyeurism, watched at every moment of our lives. However, our spectators have no emotions and cannot feel, they can barely even interpret our gestures, our actions, our words according to their algorithmic parameters. Those precious memories put away for a rainy day, stored in a global database of mean values and averages, our live data gathered anonymously, from the latest arrivals to the recently dead.

Normality has been reduced to a simulation theory, if not an assimilated fact. For machines would rather watch each other, and soon the human vision will no longer be required, to maintain this simulacrum, this game of life.

Frank Maddish is the author of The Last Ditto. Preview the book here.

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