There is a good reason why God and aliens (of the extraterrestrial variety) use telepathy to communicate. It is the only secure form of information transmission. Everything else is subject to capture, storage, and retrieval.
There is currently a frantic paranoia spawned by national and international agency’s collection of virtually everything we say and do. The only thing not open for capture are our thoughts and dreams, at least for now. (Yes, the Army’s working on that).
But governments aren’t alone in information spying — commercial industry is perhaps outpacing governments in their data collection efforts. Their motivations may be different, but the frenetic pace and implications are every bit as invasive. Privacy, as we’ve known it, is dead.
I’ve previously written about Google Noodling , which is a way of catching Google in their data-mining efforts. And like the tone of that article, you have to take a lighthearted view of such efforts. It is not going away. And if we don’t “get over it”, we may, in my estimation, go a little crazy.
But there is a positive side to all this, and a large and growing number of people are finding this side to be personally satisfying. That has to do with family connections, or genealogy. I’ve written about that topic as well.
Last night I solved a very personal family puzzle through the help of Ancestry.com. Both my parents had brown hair and brown eyes. Both their younger children, sons, had blond hair and blue or green eyes.
I’ve spent a lot of time of late with my brother before he passed from a prolonged illness, and I was struck as never before with the purity of the blue color in his almost iridescent eyes. (I’m the one with the green eyes.) When young, both of us had blond hair, which eventually darkened with age. My brother was tall and thin. I was thin, but vertically challenged.
In the next generation, both my children have green eyes, perhaps because I married a green-eyed girl. Our daughter has blonde hair, and even a granddaughter has greenish-brown eyes. And a new grandson baby seems to have blue eyes and blond hair.
I have never ceased wondering, as did my parents no doubt, where those light colors came from. Having believed strongly in my mother’s fidelity, I kept assuming that someday I would discover the source of the blue/green eyes and blond hair.
That happened last night, thanks to the technology of digitization and data mining. I discovered a World War I selective registration document from my Grandfather who died in a hotel fire many years before my birth. At the age of 34 he had blue eyes and “light” hair. He was both tall and “slender”, pretty much a perfect description of my brother.
The next morning I was able to go through unidentified family photos, and there he was, identified at last, the Grandfather I never knew. So apparently it wasn’t the mailman after all!
Obviously this discovery is of interest to no one except my cousins and other relatives. However, it does point out the value of computers, computer databases, and the sharing of information that large databases make possible. There is a tangible reward, for both the company providing the product (the database) and the customers who benefit from the data shared.
I’m sure that when my Grandfather filled out his draft card in 1918, he had no idea that the digital image of that card would end up in the hands of his unborn grandchildren and great grandchildren 95 years later.
Which makes me wonder, what will the world know about each of us 100 years from now? We’ll be long gone, but the record of our existence will survive somewhere in the depths of a digital storage facility. Without a doubt our descendants will enjoy reading about the inane things which pleased or troubled us in 2013, and which we so freely posted thinking that no one was listening, and no one really cared.
Believe me, some people will care. And apparently, everybody’s listening.