We’re all just balls in the machine…

My attention was drawn to this notice today. Apparently there’s one of these now in the new shopping centre in Bristol – Cabot Circus. I guess it’s the next move in the game, as we drift ever oblivious toward the Big Brother / Minority Report world we laughed about in 1984. Ok, we didn’t laugh; we thought it had got as bad as it could be back then – even Tommy Cooper died on stage, on the telly! (I thought it was part of the act).

As the various means of tracking us become ubiquitous, and the assumption of surveillance becomes the norm, how does that affect the individual? At all? Not at all? Certainly, anonymous collection of data has been the norm ever since door beams and probably before that, but tracing the path one takes, the places one stops in or at and for how long… it’s easy to see how the focused advertising that featured in the film Minority Report could come about long before technology brought distant retina scanning. Facebook tailored advertising was bad enough.

Peace of mind comes to different folk in different circumstances. I find it often in solitary pursuits away from other people. Being under the watchful eye of the Sun, in the presence of trees, cautiously observed by buzzards… I detest CCTV already, even as (like this) I can see the benefits. I’m not sure I’ll find peace of mind in Cabots Circus, wandering from sight to sight like the scurrying ant in a schoolroom glass anthill; I’m not an ant. Or perhaps I am, but as far as I know no-one has told the ants about the other side of the glass.

So thanks, Cabot Circus, and all the other places identified in the Daily Fail story (nope, didn’t and would never buy it, and really didn’t ought to have clicked on the link). And thanks Footpath Technologies, who at least have the decency to have a logo that assumes a brain which looks like an RFI antenna. I’ll pass, and never pass through your doors – at least with my phone on.

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