The current generation is the first of its kind – a generation completely monitored from cradle to grave. We are accommodating the state by placing surveillance cameras in places they could not otherwise be installed. And it is not just the state that has an interest in what we are doing at all times. If anything, the corporate appetite for watching our every move is even bigger, practically insatiable.
If you are older than 30, these facts probably make you pretty nervous. Older than 40, and you are downright terrified. Over 50, and it is likely you are not aware of the full extent of societal monitoring. Back in the day, this level of monitoring was unthinkable. It was the plot of dystopian fiction.
This is one of those areas where the generations clash. Younger people are swaddled by the comforting embrace of monitors and trackers. They would be uneasy without it. They already know the value of the all-seeing eye and ear. As for the rest, this is a brief examination of why the dawn of Generation M: the monitored generation, is not such a bad thing. In fact, you are probably already participating in the change without giving it much thought. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
Monitored Home Security
There has been monitored home security for a long time. Whether you choose ADT or some other security option, you will be voluntarily participating in one of the greatest benefits of a monitored society. Monitoring does not have to include cameras. Sensors on the doors and windows, along with motion sensors inside the house provide valuable information about what’s going on inside and outside of the house. It is the kind of information you want people to have.
While cameras are not usually a part of a standard package, there are many benefits to adding third-party security cameras to the mix. In the case of a break-in, cameras provide footage that gives us insight into exactly what happened. We can be alerted of suspicious behaviour around the home while we are away. And of course, there are the obvious benefits of having a baby monitor and pet monitor. Monitoring provides security and peace of mind that we wouldn’t have without it.
Every time you call out to a digital assistant such as Siri, Alexa, or Cortana, you are participating in Generation M. Your iPhone is presently listening to everything 24/7. It is only listening for a particular phrase. But to get that phrase when spoken, it has to listen to everything. And this is from a company that deeply cares about security.
Your brand new Pixel 2 from Google is also listening to everything around you, and it acts on more than just a phrase. It catalogues the music that happens to be playing so that you can identify it. This happens despite the fact that you didn’t ask for that identification to happen. This is a part of the pros and cons of being monitored all the time. Convenience is always a two-edged sword. But increasingly, we are expecting even more convenience from our tech.
Find My Friends
One of the best things about the modern cell phone is that it can be tracked as long as it is sending out a GPS signal. And whether or not you are actively using a mapping app, your phone is always trackable via GPS. It is a thing that saves lives. And it also enables parents to keep up with the kids. It allows for features like “Find My Friends” to work. Similar tracking capabilities are also available on Android.
Even the most paranoid among us want to be monitored and tracked sometimes. It is just that we want certain guarantees that such monitoring and tracking cannot be done when we don’t want it. But that is the interplay between security and convenience. While we rage against being monitored, we buy products like the Echo Spot as if unconcerned that we just placed a camera next to the bed.
Security, convenience, and location services are just a few of the ways we have already signed on to the new reality of constant monitoring and tracking. So far, the benefits have far outweighed the negatives.
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