I See You
My alarm clock shatters my dreams and brings me back into the plane of reality. I wish i could go back to sleep. Even as this thought occurs to me my lights start to brighten as if they can read my mind. In today's world, that very well may be the case.
A few minutes later when i walk into the kitchen i can smell my coffee and delivered breakfast waiting for me. When i sit down my television springs to life as it does every morning. Headlines of the news picked by my AI scroll across the screen allowing me to see what has happened across the world since i went to bed. I finish my breakfast within the predicted time frame and head outside to my ride share just as it is arriving.
As the car pulls away I get to sit back and “enjoy my disconnect time.” On my way to work. My AI has everything covered. I only work 3 days a week because according to the doctor “we need some purpose in life”. Everyone knows the AIs running the factorys and restaurants can work faster, longer, and produce more than humans. We take tradeoffs in productivity to keep us sane though. Heck, we don't even get paid. We get a check each month from the AI tax that was put on every business when jobs were replaced. Poverty is non-existant and the wealthy class is gone too. Everyone gets enough to pay for all living expenses plus a “Sun Fund”.
My four hour “work day” breezes by as predetermined. Since the weather is nice i decide i will walk around downtown and have a look through the shops. “That ice cream sure would taste nice” i think as the shop comes into view. I don't even have to wait in a line anymore. By the time I get their my AI has already placed and paid for my order.
This seems like a great place to live right? This is a way i could imagine the future being. However, this future is not as nice as it appears.
The AI knows either by some sort of brain to machine interface or very accurate predictions that our character would wish to fall back asleep. It also knew exactly what to have delivered for breakfast, when to order the car and what type of ice cream our character would want.
We can already get many of these things today. We can ask Google or Siri to perform a list of tasks upon command or when triggered by an event. We can order and pay for our transportation from our phones or with our voices.
All of these things come at a cost however. When using these “free” services you are actually paying a steep price. Your data is more precious to these companies than a few dollars. These mega corps choose for example to make little to no profit right away in order to guarantee large sums later. By getting your data they can accurately predict where you will go, with whom you will go with, what you will buy and what advertisements will catch your fancy for future purchases.
What Can Be Done?
While it is nearly impossible to stop all tracking it is possible to limit. How much is your own choice. One of the simplest things you can do is change your search engine to a privacy respecting one such as DuckDuckGo. You share extremely intimate details in search that can easily be used to profile and influence you. From medical questions and political candidates to salaries and more. These things can easily be used against you. You may be forced out of your job, denied housing, pay more for insurance, loans and more just from search.
Other things you can do include deleting Facebook Whatsapp Instagram — all owned by Facebook — and Twitter. Give Mastodon Pixelfed and Signal Private Messenger a try.
Don't use the stock software on your smartphone. If you own an Android device there are privacy respecting custom roms. Some may not wish to try this process themselves and that's okay. Ask friends, friends of friends or someone online to help you through the process.
There are many other things you can do to better protect yourself. You can ask me anything you need help with. Just visit my About Me page.