The way my desk and office are situated, there is a TV in my peripheral vision at all times. I came in to work one morning and noticed that the company had just upgraded the TV in the break room to a nice, big flat screen. They were also moving it to the other side of the room. So, the sight-line from my office door that used to look out on the vending machine, now includes a TV. A TV that plays Fox News (aka we are in complete denial about being main-stream media) all day long.
Sometimes I like to mix together some of the different news stories that I notice during the day and make my own little narrative to go along with it. Often the TV is only loud enough to be heard in the break room, so it's not hard to overlay my own creativity onto the action. For example, since this is Fox News and everyone is apparently scared to death of surveillance and anything even remotely close to a liberal cause (I'm not saying that's bad, just observing), there were two stories that I noticed.
The first was a research project by Facebook on computer facial recognition. They claim they can get 97% match (or something close to that) on recognizing someone's face, which is just shy of a human's ability. Pretty cool.
The second was a Canadian astronaut that was leading the way to getting full real-time coverage of the Earth with satellites. Now, everyone was looking at this idea through the lens of the recent missing aircraft, but paired with the above story, my mind started to spin.
What I came up with was a sort of dystopia where corporations (Facebook, etc.) will be able to recognize people based on their face, and there is real-time coverage of the entire Earth with satellites. They know where you are at all times, what you 'like,' who your 'friends' are, who your actual friends are (since it can see who you hang out with), and where you shop, eat, and play. Of course, this would all be done under the guise of providing you a better ad experience, or something to that effect, but really is just setting up the surveillance state that we have seen in countless movies and TV shows. Pair that with the ability to tap into our communications, and the fact that our lives are becoming more and more dependent and existent on 'the cloud,' and you have a world that is quickly approaching the many young adult novels that are written in this genre. That or Skynet (whenever we figure out sentient AI).
Now, please don't take this as conspiracy theorizing or doomsday-saying. I'm not about to unplug and run off into the wilderness to live off of the land, where an aluminum foil hat, and never interact with another human being for fear of them trying to 'get me.' I'm also not condoning those who would choose that lifestyle, as it sounds kind of exciting (like that movie Hanna, which was equal parts bizarre and intriguing, or possibly John Malkovich's character from R.E.D.). I have just been ultra-sensitive lately to creating fictional tales based on things that are happening around me.
Anyways, on the TV being in my sight-line, I've been trying to decide what to do about it, to remedy the situation. In general, I do really well with distractions when I'm trying to focus. I'm able to tune out everything that is going on around me and work on what needs to be done (a skill developed in college around noisy roommates), so it's not enough of an aggressor to make me do something about it right away. However, I can feel my life being slowly sapped away by the constant stream of talking heads on the television.
Another thing about me, I'm not really a news 'junky.' I know that some of you out there are, which is fine, but I just can't do it. I find myself getting too worked up over other people's opinions. The stories are always tuned to be shocking or depressing, and I never really feel uplifted after watching or reading the news, so I try my best to stay out of it.
Luckily it's March, and the TV is now set to college basketball, so maybe I'll wait a little longer before doing anything. Hold on, someone is standing in the way and this game is getting down to the wire. I'll be right back...