Many of those readers out there may remember the popular TV show “Candid Camera” which surprisingly started in 1948 with a hidden plot to make 5 minute “YouTube” stars out of the average man before YouTube even existed. Those were the days, when Allen Funt would come on and do the set up for us as the viewing audience as some unsuspecting “Joe” who would unknowingly be set up with some off the wall plot for our viewing enjoyment. In the end however, Allen would pop out and share his famous line “Your on Candid Camera” with the unsuspecting victim. We would all have a good laugh at someone else’s expense and life would move on.
Today, however we live in a constant state of “Candid Camera“, however the only difference is Allen Funt is no longer there to pop out, nor are we aware of the fact that on average an American is caught on camera 200 times a day. Yes, that’s right over 200 times as in today’s world just about every device has a camera built in. From the traffic lights, ATM’s, store security systems, gas station pumps, well you get the idea as the list keeps going on. Notice, in this I haven’t even included the millions of video equipped cell phones and iDevices which also roam our street seeking the next YouTube moment which you might be the star or a bystander in.
As David Brin writes in the “Transparent Society“, there is a Moore’s Law if you will for cameras as the count is growing at a staggering rate as cost and size decrease. As this happens, the volume of them deployed in the world grow at a corresponding viral rate. Adding to this viral mix is our old friend the internet as now you have an economical means of connecting all of these cameras together which creates yet another paradigm as who will watch all of these devices? Well the simple answer is a computer of course, when you run a red light the system is programmed to detect motion in its field of view and mark those frames in order to send you a ticket.
Moving up the food chain in Sin City aka Las Vegas similar systems are set to read your face as in recognize you as the Casino may not want you as a patron if you take part in say advance probability studies or what they refer to as card counting. In addition, If they are not sure they may also attempt to estimate your honesty by reading your facial expressions! Wow that is scary isn’t it, a machine assessing your honesty? Think about it your mood could be recorded as you enter the building for work. Even better as you arrive at your customer’s office the security camera reads the openness of your face and passes this info to the client to establish a negotiating position. Ethical you ask?
The point here is the world’s perception of “privacy” is changing as 200 times a day and growing, we (including YOU) are living out a YouTube reality and we don’t even know it. Do we even care, or should we even “care”?