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If we are all naked do we still need secrets? Are we ready for a world without secrets?

The problem with the NSA and other surveillance programs which intend to monitor the entire Internet and everything that takes place is that it captures raw humanity. Raw humanity is something most human beings are very unfamiliar with. Raw humanity is similar to raw data, it's completely unfiltered and unorganized. The instinct of human beings who access any raw data is to try to put it into categories, organize, judge it, or somehow place it.

What could go wrong with a surveillance society? Assume for a moment that everyone is a digital native. A digital native is an individual who grew up with Internet access and technology and who has been culturally conditioned by it. The problem here is that if all behavior of everyone is captured from childhood years, to teenage years, to adult years, and the NSA can see everything everyone did online throughout their life, read every email, see every post, see every website ever visited by the individual, every upload, every download, essentially everything and every action saved forever, what could go wrong?

What could go wrong in a surveillance society?

What could go wrong is if the society were to maintain all it's current social institutions which provide moral guidance. At this point a lot of traditional thinking, ideas, and morality are just plain wrong when one looks at actual human behavior and facts. This does not change that in the case of a leak, careers would be ruined, lives would be destroyed, it puts every Internet user in a don't ask don't tell kind of atmosphere where government organizations know all their secrets and anyone with access to their secrets has the power to ruin lives just by leaking it. Whether those secrets are illegal or not is irrelevant, anything which can cause persecution and judgment, anything which enough people dislike or hate, anything politically controversial, or just stupid comments and actions, all saved forever throughout human history. This is something new which did not exist before, and the NSA has set it up so that there is no possibility of anything we do now or possibly anything we have done in the past on the Internet of ever being erased.

The problem of judgment in an open society

If we accept that being open is the solution, that the strategy should be to decentralize it so that everyone can access the information, then society will have to give up judgment in return for that access. If you access all the secrets of a nation, and you have personal opinions and judgments, then this will create problems in itself. Even if some humans are capable of accessing all secrets without judging the individuals personally, you still have problems because there will be many more humans who aren't fit to access it. To give an example, if some member of society had a secret gay affair and the person accessing that information was raised in a religious family which traditionally dislikes gays, how could this be a good thing? For this reason I don't see how we will allow everyone to access everything without everyone judging everyone else's behavior as moral and immoral and if everyone does that then society breaks. Once again society in it's current form does not accept raw humanity and probably does not know what a raw human being is, instead it only accepts sanitized humanity.

The problem of too many secrets

If we have too many secrets then we cannot protect ourselves from the lone gunman, the terrorist, the evil scientist building the weapon of mass destruction. As technology empowers it also demands more responsibility from the user. At some point regular people will have the technology and knowledge to create weapons of mass destruction. When regular people can create weapons of mass destruction then we will be required to put regular people under surveillance, because the risk of not doing so would be too high and there would be too much to lose. The era where designer viruses and biological weapons can be made by amateurs is here and because of that there will be a need or perhaps a requirement to watch anyone who seems capable of producing such a weapon.

If we are all naked, can we avoid being judged?

I don't think we can avoid being judged if we are all naked. Computers may not judge us because computers don't have social agendas, emotions, political opinions, or moral views which allow for these sorts of judgments unless they are specifically programmed in. A computer could view a naked human and look only for what it's supposed to look for. A human being would look at a naked human and subconsciously rate that naked human unless specifically trained not to, such as the case with a doctor for instance.

In a previous article I asked the question of whether or not we are still human. If we are indeed becoming cyborgs then perhaps the solution ultimately will be arrived through the process of trans-humanism. Selected human beings would have to be chosen to see the raw humanity, but these human beings would have to be guided by technology rather than just guided by other human beings. This would mean that if a human being does have the ability to see everything that goes on in cyberspace, if artificial intelligence can help that human being to have a much deeper understanding than they ordinarily would then the AI could think in ways which exclude all personal judgment even if the human being cannot and they could balance each other out. Perhaps this is wishful thinking on my part but it's one of the few options I can see where it would work, but in order for it to work human beings would have to become cyborgs because human nature by itself is too limited to manage something as vast as the Internet.

Collectively human beings are not smart enough. Individually human beings are not mature enough or competent enough. It's only through the merger of human and machine can humans become smart enough and mature enough. Trans-cranial direct-current stimulation (also known as the thinking cap) for instance has been shown to help human beings think more clearly, it has no known side effects, this would give bionic capabilities to augment the human brain so it could perhaps better handle it. Another example would be the addition of artificial intelligence help. Beyond this I think the information being collected by the NSA is so vast, so comprehensive, so confusing, that any normal human being would be completely overwhelmed by the depth and consider that it's only going to get deeper. The point here is that information has to be interpreted and actually understood not just collected and I don't think human beings today are particularly good at it nor do I think human beings have the capacity to keep up with the collection methods.

If an organization like the NSA is theoretically dealing in yottabyes of information, the collective processing power of the very finite amount of brains allowed to access that information will never be enough. It would require the processing power of artificial intelligence because it's beyond the capacity of human beings. It's also beyond the capacity of human evolution, because traditional evolution moves at too slow of a rate to keep up with the amount of information which would have to be studied and interpreted. For this reason trans-humanism. seems to be the only option which could work in the long term and this would mean human beings are cyborgs and it will become much more apparent over time.


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