Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Power of Attention

We are a naturally short-sighted species, as are brains are easily distracted by shiny things and seeking immediate gratification. As such, many of us feel power when we command the attention of others, for good or for ill. The sensationalistic news often seeks out the most dramatic stories, which an inspire copycats. From serial killers to mass murderers to terrorists to petty criminals, infamy is a common motivator.

Other times, it can be a positive force. Whistleblowers, protestors, and activists can rise to power from a single example. Corruption and incompetence often backfire in the faces of those who fear scrutiny. While the Internet seems to be moving towards encryption, cameras and other technologies can also allow the corrupt to be spied upon. The protector caste is held accountable when they are on record.

At the same time, the idea of privacy is instinctively appealing. Politicians are quick to notice this. I imagine a civil libertarian movement could only strengthen as Millennials grow to voting age and the Terror State wanes. 

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