Who is watching the watcher watchers?

Mass surveillance has come full circle

We’re all connected, and most of our smart devices have cameras and sensors which can detect and analyze peoples’ behaviour. What’s more, our smart systems can aggregate and dissect everything happening online; mobile, financial, social – you name it. Nothing escapes the attention of the internet of things.

In the age of transparency, artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to police the police. To avoid human failures and criminal sabotage of surveillance for society’s benefit, we need impartial AI to perform the checks and balances.

To prevent a Big Brother scenario, the watcher watchers are non-human systems, performing due diligence on every bit of public and social scrutiny. There’s no room for ideology when public safety is at stake; infringements of the law must be carefully deconstructed and defined, without any room for ‘creative’ interpretation.

Social media and online platforms have given concerned citizens the ability to instantly expose and publicize the slightest transgression by public figures and celebrities. We are subtly encouraged to spy on each other, and the authorities.

It’s called “nudging.” As futurist @ThomasFrey warned us three years ago, “A hyper-transparent society becomes a devastatingly efficient playground for the true puppet masters. Our ability to abuse transparency cannot be overstated!”

Now we can trust the authorities and agencies; they’re watching the people, and the people are watching them, and each other. And our smart systems are watching what everyone is watching, to avoid mistakes and abuse of power.

Which leaves us with that ultimate question: Who, or what, is watching the watcher watchers?

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer.