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P-Day is already past?

I recently spoke to Gordon Bell about the Digital Life Bits project he's doing at Microsoft Research, digitizing his entire life. I'm seeing more and more evidence that a prediction I made several years ago for "P-Day" may already have come true.

The prediction was this. We don't have the AI level technology today to perform ubiquitous automatic surveillance of our society, and that's a good thing. However, we have developed the technology to start recording everything. The cameras are already in lots of places (with their number growing) and storage has become cheap enough to keep all those recordings forever, and eventually to put them online.

Today we can't do anything so bold as perform facial recognition on all those images to track people. But that won't always be true. In the future we'll build such technology thanks to Moore's law (see the prior post!)

But this technology will be able to do more than find people in the cameras of the future. Thanks to recording it will be able to track people into the past. Audio and image records will become records of people. Data trails not possible to correlate today will be correlated in the future. The complete computerized tracking of your life is being done already, but the computation to write it down awaits future computing power.

P-Day is the day your privacy went away but you didn't yet know it. Thanks to other people digitizing their lives, it may have already happened to you. What touristed public space today is not constantly being camcordered or digitally photographed?

Walter Jon Williams recently explored this question in his Hugo nominated story The Green Leapord Plague. I've known him for many years, having published his story "Prayers on the Wind" in my 1993 Hugo & Nebula Anthology and highly recommend his work.

Comments

Hmm...Kind reminds me of a book I read I think it was "1984". But I might be wrong.

Dear Brad:

Is P-Day something like what is portrayed in the Tome Cruise movie “Minority Report” where people are constantly being scanned and identified by sensors?

I’m thinking about the scene in this movie where Cruise gets incorrectly identified in a retail store because he has another person’s eyes, which usurps the automated retina scan.

Where does the term P-Day come from?

And, where can I read more about this?

And a big issue, here in the UK anyway, is identity theft - how many people are covering their tracks in response to the big brother issues you raise?

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