Technology continues to integrate itself into our lives on daily basis. New apps are frequently developed and the use of smart phones has given us access to these apps wherever we go. As a generation, we are becoming accustomed to being “connected” with the world—whether through our phones, apps, or the Internet. As our connections increase, we are given more access to the world, to information, to contacting others. In turn, we give out information about ourselves—willingly or unwillingly—to this collection of data. We post information on our Facebook pages or Twitter accounts and instantly that data becomes available to the world—regardless of the minimal privacy settings we are offered. What will become of this system of information sharing as technology continues to develop? How will this change affect how we live? How we relate to others? How our government is run? Already we can see how the threat of “siren servers” is increasing as companies such as Google grow.
In his science fiction novel Ebocloud, Rick Moss explores what our world will be like in a future dominated by Internet connections. He presents the idea of a “cloud”, a computer network that links together the human minds of its users. The users also have digital tattoos that connect the individual, the “family” you belong to, and the “cloud”. This level of connection can be seen as a blessing or a curse. Yes, you are opening yourself up and forming bonds with others that you would not have otherwise met. You surround yourself with this group of people who are open to helping you and whom you can associate with. You open yourself to opportunities to join organizations and projects to do good or that correlate with your interests. It doesn’t sound too different from social networks we have today. But to what level does this connection extend? There is no logging out—the tattoos keep you connected to the cloud, and thus you are giving up the ability to remove yourself from this cyber world. And how genuine are these bonds you are making? When people have extrinsic motivations—such as earning “Kar-merits”—does that affect the way they behave? Does that make them more self-absorbed? Or less so because they are participating in projects that better society? The concept of a powerful computer network connecting the world—which is far less of a fictional concept than we may believe—would affect the way we think, the way we interact, the way we make decisions, the way our world is governed. How much of your self are you willing to give up for the sake of a more connected world?