Privacy and Intimacy

Me, lucky to witness the virtual and digital technologies that at times put me in a motion of awe! We saw the first television in black and white, after our marriage. This June, papers reported that a new technology can read brainwaves to allow users to switch TV channels – a research outcome from UK. Everything depends on an “App” a word I am now addicted to. I vividly recollect the sadness when my father in law got to know that his account number with Standard Chartered got changed with a 10 digit number replacing his old number 9. He was upset when he had to remember the password of ATM, more because he lost touch with the personal attention he used to receive from bank employees. Today privacy and intimacy cross each other at cross roads of relationships in many ways. Everything happens through the digital media on the thin little computer we at times call – The Cell. We have embraced the new social media, ageless. The tragedy is that privacy to an extent is also sold.
Googles Nest thermostat tracks movement of people around house and “learns” how warm they like to keep their rooms. Facebook offers an App that uses microphone and “listens” to the sounds apparently to better target music lover’s choices. Amazon’s smartphone’s camera track pupil and head movements and also uses facial recognition data and estimate gender, age and ethnicity. Amazon says this feature is yet to be featured. My daughter on her wrist has a digital tracker that tells her the calories consumed and the energy spent during exercising. Are we, in this “techy” era under a continuous consumer surveillance and are being monitored where intimacy is also revealed? Of course when Kerala and later other cities initiated a “kiss for love” campaign were we not told earlier that PDA (public display of affection) is not an offence and is not so serious? Look Facebook, that I too use, connects you with people and things and makes you feel that you missed it all, so long! Haven’t you seen the “selfie” culture that makes consumers buy gadgets that makes better selfies? We are no more private in many ways. The digital media push boundaries. The boundaries crumble like the
wall between Germany. Date has given way to “DATING”. “Likes” give way to Dis-likes. It’s mentioned that data scientists algorithms can guess sexual orientation based on such “likes”. We do not know how private we are? Like the toothpaste, once the INTIMACY paste is out, we cannot revert the process. One state in India has enhanced the daily wages for a nude model who works in Art Colleges from Rs.400/- upwards. They earn without shame. They earn their livelihood for a reason to live, private is yet private in this case. I belong to an era when after our engagement I had to book a PP call on P&T net work and wait for hours to get across to my fiancĂ©. Times have changed since. At this juncture privacy or intimacy are not that valid though. I tend to project time beyond when our grandchildren will face. Public Domain may become part of Lifestyle. “just do it”. We also read that Google on request remove “revenge porn” as in these days intimacy and privacy are under pressure in maintaining relationships. Let’s watch what’s next as technology push further boundaries. When digital cameras at cross road junctions photographed vehicles where friends were in the seat that resulted in divorce petitions there was a hue and cry. We get nice jokes on What’sApp indicating that the future is yet to be. It was long since I watched a 3D movie at PSR. Remember your seats shake and droplets of water gets sprayed on your face as it rains on the screen? Let us also wait to witness the gap between the VIRTUAL & REAL. That’s when we appreciate or discount to balance the Bits & Bites that affect our Private Lives!

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