Orwell’s dead. Get over it.

Standard

1984It’s gotten to be a bad joke, recently re-highlighted by the “discovery” that some of the new Samsung Smart TVs have cameras and microphones that could detect the goings-on in front of them (to allow better control of the TV): When people saw the “terms and conditions” warning that any criminal or terrorist-related visuals or words picked up by the TV could potentially be forwarded to the authorities, the web-verse immediately invoked George Orwell, and decried that “1984 was here.”

And as it happened, the spirit of George Orwell reared up out of his grave and said: “Oh, shut up and let me get some sleep already!” Continue reading

Plans for 2015: ???

Standard

2015As a new year approaches, I find myself in a familiar position: Reflecting on the past year, I have to ask myself, “Am I gonna continue this insanity for another year?  Or am I gonna find some new insanity to commit myself to?” Continue reading

Replacing keys with handwavium?

Standard

NFC chipI’ve spoken before about my loathing of that 500-year-old technology, the lowly key: How I am so tired of depending on this ancient, easily-defeatable technology to secure my property; about how tired I am of carrying a pocketful of them with me everywhere I go, inevitably putting holes in my back pocket, in order to enter my car, to unlock my home, to give me entrance to my office, to lock up my bike, etc, etc.

The device pictured here proves that now, in the 21st century, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Continue reading

An old show format for a modern SF TV show

Standard

Search TV series logoIn an earlier post or two, I’ve said that it’s time to move on from the Star Trek franchise and create a new SF TV franchise.  Why?  Because Star Trek was a show built around the concerns and issues of the latter half of the twentieth century; it is now time for a show that examines the issues of the nascent twenty-first century.

We’ve had a few SF shows come and go since then, and most of their formats have been pretty familiar (some of which because they were reboots).  But I was recently reminded of a show format that hasn’t been used in science fiction television for literally forty years: That of the TV series Search.  Maybe this particular format is due for a comeback. Continue reading

Person of Interest: Must-Watch SF TV

Standard
Person of Interest

Harold Finch, genius creator of The Machine featured in Person of Interest.

If you want to see the best, most intelligent science fiction to grace our television screens in decades, bar none… I sincerely hope you’re watching Person of Interest.  Put simply, this show is what science fiction is supposed to be for. Continue reading

Security: Encryption, A.I. and drones (Oh my!)

Standard

data securitydata securityPersonal security has taken a number of recent hits, most notably with the reports of recent hacking into the databases of Target, Home Depot and other national retailers. Financial institutions are finally concluding that the U.S. needs to start using chip-embedded credit cards to better protect their funds and identities.

On the heels of that, the iPhone 6 has been released with an encryption system that (supposedly) no government or agency can break, keeping anything stored therein private from prying eyes.  On one hand, law enforcement agencies are complaining that this will only make their jobs more difficult.  On the other, agencies are realizing this makes their operatives’ data better protected.  And, of course, private individuals like the idea of being able to secure all of their data, allowing them to, as law enforcement puts it, “place themselves beyond the law.”

But as secrets become easier to keep, we run the risk of ne’er-do-wells attacking us more often, targeting our institutions, our money, and even our lives, using the same security measures we rely on.  Does my need for privacy include allowing a terrorist an easier time destroying my plane?  Is the collection of internet porn on my cellphone so important that we should also allow foreign agents to store their collection of bomb making manuals and list of suppliers on their cellphones?   Do we have to allow people to keep whatever secrets they have, only to examine them within an inch of their lives every time they approach a public place?  Continue reading

Invasive technologies define the future of Sarcology

Standard

sarcology cover 2014Invasive technologies, by definition, tend to have the most initial resistance to their introduction to society.  It can be hard to imagine a future world in which new and sometimes disturbing, often painfully-disruptive technologies come to be accepted, even common, parts of our lives.

Sarcology, recently updated and re-released, depicts a future world full of these invasive technologies, making it easy for the reader to question the likelihood and desirability of this future reality.

But given time, and often contrary to public perception, we have seen that even the most invasive of tech can overcome initial resistance and become accepted, even ubiquitous, in society. Continue reading