Article by Margaret
Watching The Circle with Tom Hanks and Emma Watson was a captivating and slightly horrific experience. Not only is the movie thought-provoking and eye-opening, it seems to be a very real indication of where we as a society are headed.
In the movie the argument is made that it is a basic human right to have access to every human experience, those who are disabled or unable to travel or experience different events in life for various reasons have a right to experience them through technology by capturing other people’s experiences in the world. Why should someone bound to a wheelchair not be able to experience climbing a mountain in some way shape or form? While access to information is a vital pillar of democracy is that the same as access to all human experience? Is the right to privacy not a basic human right? While we live in an age of hyper-connectivity and it is almost unheard of to be disconnected from all forms of technology should the option to do so be a human right? With all the technology surrounding our population today, some personal, some practical, are we entitled to privacy? Or is mandatory, absolute transparency the ethical path to hold all people accountable?
In a more perfect world that might be viable solution but that is not the world we live in. For everything created to do good someone misuses it to do bad. Not only would absolute, mandatory transparency be a violation of human rights (in my opinion), but it also open up huge opportunities to misuse all-seeing technology and the information gathered. No person should be required to be transparent nor should society be entirely transparent and demonize those who are not. The founding fathers gave us three unalienable rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The right to privacy would fall under all three of those rights.
This day in age we are all constantly aware of how much we the people are being marketed to. Everything is an ad. Every single day we are exposed to ads. But when do we stop and think about what that does to use as individuals and collectively as a society. The average person is exposed to 5,000 ads a day, known and unknown. The current generation is aware of this, the current generation does not like being marketed to but what about when we don’t realize when it’s happening? Marketing strategies under the guise of ‘moving forward or protecting human rights’, strategies that appeal to ethos, our drive to see an ethical world that’s held accountable. By advertising products as things that will help prevent dictative regimes, human rights violation, increased voter participation, and make absolute democracy possible companies encourage wide use of products that, most of the time, aren’t objectively saving the world but pushing the company’s own agenda. Just because the potential to be an aid or protector of human rights doesn’t mean that’s what the product or technology is being used for in actuality. It’s not tech that hold the world accountable, it’s the humans.