I Saw The Best Minds Of My Generation Destoyed by Google – New Scientist

brainWill unplugging be the next form of teen rebellion? Will “Turn on, tune in, drop out” be replaced by ‘Turn off, tune out and unplug? Are teens already wise to the fact that the Internet is ‘the man’? In a world in which video surveillance is omnipresent where is a teen supposed to get a little privacy? Where are adults supposed to get any privacy? Is the Google Borg for real? Is GPS and Google maps the realization of Big Brother?

Teens might think so. From New Scientist:

Imagine that Debbie and me somehow go out together. We want to network with our peer group, teenager-wise. I need to figure out what’s hip and with-it and rebellious, and Debbie needs to know what the other cyber-Goth chicks are wearing. Is that okay? No!

It’s not that we can’t do it: it’s that all our social relations have been reified with a clunky intensity. They’re digitized! And the networking hardware and software that pervasively surround us are built and owned by evil, old, rich corporate people! Social-networking systems aren’t teenagers! These machines are METHODICALLY KILLING OUR SOULS! If you don’t count wall-graffiti (good old spray paint), we have no means to spontaneously express ourselves. We can’t “find ourselves” – the market’s already found us and filled us with map pins.

At our local mall, events-management sub-engines emit floods of locative data. So if Debbie and me sneak in there, looking for some private place to get horizontal, all the vidcams swivel our way. Then a rent-a-cop shows up. What next? Should we go to Lovers’ Lane? There aren’t any! They eliminated all those! They were tracked down with satellites and abolished with Google Maps.

I have to admit that if my parents had given me a cellphone with GPS tracking ability when I was 14, the phone would have quickly found its way into the nearest creek or big blue dumpster.

We teenagers have to live in “controlled spaces”. Radio-frequency ID tags, real-time locative systems, global positioning systems, smart doorways, security videocams. They “protect” us kids, from imaginary satanic drug dealer terrorist mafia predators. We’re “secured”. We’re juvenile delinquents with always-on cellphone nannies in our pockets. There’s no way to turn them off. The internet was designed without an off-switch.

Have we gotten so caught up in protecting the children that we’ve forgotten to teach them how to protect themselves? Are we trying to turn the world into a giant nanny? A nanny that consists of lenses, tracking devices and lines of code?

Will the wired and wireless generations yearn to unplug or is it too late?


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