Tuesday, August 4, 2015

5GB Free Online Storage?

Forget stock totalitarianism; the real money's in data retrieval. If individuals or firms lose information, or if any contracting parties should disagree about what exactly was said to whom during that FaceTime videoconference back in '21, the NSA can solve the request if the price is right. Your local data wizards can retrieve things that you accidentally deleted from your own hard drive, but only the masters of the One True Cloud will be able to save you from bigger mistakes.

How much will Google be able to charge historians or genealogists to "restore" deleted e-mails from a century ago? When someone becomes famous posthumously, how much will Rolling Stone be willing to pay NSA for the complete oral record of that person's childhood phone calls? OMG, he totally stole those lyrics from the way her friend said goodbye to him that one time! Mark Twain's memoirs gave NPR something to talk about for a solid week, and access to Lyndon Johnson's toilet-stall conversations have only increased academic understanding of the causes of the Vietnam War.

A hundred years from now, we'll be privileged enough to analyze Emma Watson's cum-partum guttural utterances as she gives birth to a cloned Slytherin version of herself, and to hear TED talks about what "The Watson Birth Tapes" say about 21st century attitudes toward neo-obstetrics...but only if the NSA stores all that information to begin with! We'll know what future Saddams and Dubyas said to their fathers when they were violating curfew. By all means, provide phones for everyone and record it all, then sell it back to us.

We can go way farther than that...heat imaging satellites will soon be able to help us analyze our dating mistakes that evening. "SEE, Leonard? See? When you told your story about seeing the grizzly bear by your car, she distinctly repressed a yawn!" "No, no, she was hiccuping. Look, there it--back it up--LOOK, it was a HICCUP!" "Omigod, dude, you are totally seeing things you WANT to see."

Perfect access only brings you back to square one. But isn't that all we really wanted in the first place?


  1. I can't find the exact citation, but it has been attributed to Allan Dulles (!) - something along the lines that you can easily confuse, overwhelm, and control people with facts...
    A very good thing for the CIA etc.

    1. As long as someone lacks the emotional intelligence to interpret the facts, facts aren't dangerous.