Sunday, September 05, 2004

Anti Fog

In the previous post, Fog, the hallmarks of the coming Singularity were conjectured as a disruptive fog.

Winning the war on terrorism, if possible, will have many unintended consequences. In all likelihood, the road to ‘winning’ will be traversed developing technologies that transparently surveil, identify and eliminate threats before they are acts. Coupled with the rise of smart materials, prenatal artificial intelligence and genetic prowess, the fog of random violence might be countered with an Anti Fog---a landscape that sees, hears, anticipates and preempts. Much of this has been foretold in science fiction settings like Minority Report, but the technology deployed usually seems opaque.

The fog of disruption will require an Anti Fog deployed against it. The curve of technological innovation may well be driven by an anti-terrorist industry responding to a psychasthenic culture seeking only to preserve preconceptions of normalcy and safety. Anti Fog is an industry in the making---composed of dense webs of smart materials and information gathering and assessment technologies.

But beware of success. Imagine the most perfected anti-terror web possible, in the near future. It probably will mean that no infraction of the law will go unpunished; no hair uncounted; no tax unpaid; no sickness unrecorded; no conversation or opinion unheard; no tendency unnoticed. And by this measure, the whole of our individual freedoms that we think we are defending in 2004 will be a closed chapter in 2020. The omnipresent sign in the grammar school halls could not be a better omen for the future’s revised constitution:

Safety First.