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Rise of the Participatory Panopticon

I'm at a future of video workshop at the Institute for the Future today, and the topic of the participatory panopticon has come up. For people who are new to the concept, here's the original discussion of the participatory panopticon, the text of a talk I gave in May of 2005. I'd been talking about the PP since early 2004, but this was the best summary of the argument (at least as it stood in 2005).

The Rise of the Participatory Panopticon

Soon -- probably within the next decade, certainly within the next two -- we'll be living in a world where what we see, what we hear, what we experience will be recorded wherever we go. There will be few statements or scenes that will go unnoticed, or unremembered. Our day to day lives will be archived and saved. What’s more, these archives will be available over the net for recollection, analysis, even sharing.

And we will be doing it to ourselves.

This won't simply be a world of a single, governmental Big Brother watching over your shoulder, nor will it be a world of a handful of corporate siblings training their ever-vigilant security cameras and tags on you. Such monitoring may well exist, probably will, in fact, but it will be overwhelmed by the millions of cameras and recorders in the hands of millions of Little Brothers and Little Sisters. We will carry with us the tools of our own transparency, and many, perhaps most, will do so willingly, even happily.

I call this world the Participatory Panopticon.


I really believe this is coming too. I summarized some of my thoughts on this a while ago at http://joeflasher.com/wordpress/?p=735

Basically, the amount of information that we put out there about ourselves is going to increase as we move forward. People don't seem to care so much about privacy anymore (myself included I suppose). But if the government tried to take from us what we freely give, there would be a huge uproar.

One interesting side effect to this will probably be that as we put more and more of our lives online, people will care less and less. I guess you can already see this now with the amount of blogs online that nobody reads. Just because your whole life history is online, doesn't mean everyone will want to see it.

I loved that talk you gave in 2005. I've referred dozens of people to it since then. It's looking more prescient with every passing year.

I remember you giving such a talk at the Accelerating Change conference! I asked some question to which your response was "Clearly you've never been a parent."

That day, in order, I was exposed to the concepts of Second Life, Google Earth, Augmented Reality, the Semantic Web and finally the Participatory Panopticon, which swirled together and painted for me quite a new vision of the future!

Heh, Nick, I remember giving that reply, too, I just don't remember what it was in response to!

Of course, I have never been a parent, either, but have enough of them as friends that I could sound confident in saying that...

I like Participatory Panopticon far better that what I came up w/ (opportunistic sousveillance - http://www.hawkdog.net/wordpress/archives/70).

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