• Google
    This Blog Web

October 2011

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          

RSS Feed

Bookmark and Share

Email Feed

  • Powered by FeedBlitz

« Nanotechnology Issues | Main | Nanotechnology Toolbox »

August 13, 2004


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

michael vassar

A decade of Moore's Law should enable 100,000 cameras for the current price. Scale it up by a factor of 100 and you have 10,000,000 cameras. That could monitor every square meter of the NY metropolitan area, for a price of a couple hundred dollars per New Yorker. Very worth the price.
Add in an alert that sends security personel video and audio feeds from any area with serious anomolies (such as gunshots, blood, breaking glass, or people shouting "help"). Two people see each scene. If either of them consider it an emergency, police are immediately dispatched and the record of the last 7 days of activity from all people on camera is stored indefinitely. 100 helicopters in a uniform fligth pattern could be set up over the metropolitan area such that at least one could be on site within 2 minutes of alert and at least six more within another 2 minutes. Helicopter engines could provide power for MAD (microwave area denial) or electrical stun laser weapons, under human or computer control. The network could also contain mirrors under computerized control to allow banked shots with these weapons.
That sounds to me like more or less the end of violent street crime in the relevant area. Not sure it would do much about terrorism though, and it obviously wouldn't protect people in the subways (though it would virtually guarantee aprehension of perpetrators).

Janessa Ravenwood

Even from someone as VERY pro-War on Terror as myself that's just beyond scary. What's really scary is that's far more likely than any of the uptopian dreams from the David Brin crowd.

Tom Craver

Camera costs may track Moore's law, but not especially because the camera itself will get a lot cheaper. We've already got camera chips that are very cheap, and without making the lenses more expensive and the chips a lot more sensitive, you can't shrink them very much.

But most of the cost of a surveillance project probably already lies in installation and maintenance - those are areas where improvements can be made. Make a self-contained unit with solar power collection, a week of memory, and a wireless network connection. Design it so you can peel off the backing and slap it up to stick on a wall.

It'd only transmit images when queried - it'd take too much power to broadcast continuously. Because it'll be power limited for some time to come, only the authorities will be allowed to access it. So much for Brin's Open Society...

Brett Bellmore

A survailance device which locally stores data, and only delivers it when queried, is vulnerable to sabotoge. Ideally, you want continuous transmission, with remote storage. That way any interruption in the transmission identifies that sensor as one whose recent transmissions need to be scrutinized.

It's true that this requires more power. But I think you're overestimating how much power is needed to transmit video in a properly designed system. The shorter the range, the lower the power requirement, and recievers could be integrated into every street light, every traffic signal.

But the system I envision would be more an evolution of today's picture cell phones. Power consumption would be less of an issue if you can periodically recharge them, and the continuous data transmission could be to a third party maintained store, such as an alarm service company. With both an emergency trigger, including key words and voice stress analysis, and automatic police notification if the transmission is cut off, just about any crime of violence against somebody so equipped would be difficult to impossible to get away with. As well as being handy for fast response in the event of medical emergencies and accidents.

Dimitar Vesselinov

Three cheers for the Surveillance Society!
By David Brin

"In the brave new future, Big Brother will watch our every move. But that's OK, because we'll be watching him too."

"Half a century ago, amid an era of despair, George Orwell created one of the most oppressive metaphors in literature with the telescreen system used to surveil and control the people in his novel "1984."

"The worst aspect of Orwell's telescreen -- the trait guaranteeing tyranny -- was not that agents of the state could use it to see. The one thing that despots truly need is to avoid accountability. In "1984," this is achieved by keeping the telescreen aimed in just one direction! By preventing the people from looking back."

"While a flood of new discoveries may seem daunting, they should not undermine the core values of a calm and knowledgeable citizenry. Quite the opposite: While privacy may have to be redefined, the new technologies of surveillance should and will be the primary countervailing force against tyranny."


See also:


another interesting thing about this is when cameras get around every square foot. walking through time and space will be like the matrix 'free time' shots.

What concerns me is hacking into these systems. They need to be open so anyone can have access, and read only.

I disagree with Brinn that it will solve all the problems. Transparent society I have extreme doubts will make it into any whitehouse, boardroom, etc, in a way that's publically accessible. People in power can afford find darker alleys, so all we can track is the shadows they cast and the movement in and out of them. Thus this becomes a better tool to keep the masses in check which is still useful for crime, and police brutality.

Tom Craver

Troy: I rather tend to agree - getting from here to Brin's transparent society would be quite difficult. Maybe if you started over on Mars...

I will say that if we really had transparent society everywhere EXCEPT boardrooms and government, and people accepted the transparency ethic, the pressure to make the boardrooms and government open as well might be pretty intense. Government may always argue that it needs secrecy for one reason or another - but the excuses would be far less convincing if we had the transparent society.

John B

Another proponent of an open society is Steve Mann from UToronto with the concept he calls 'sousveillance'. In an interesting twist, he proposes that everyone keep their own log of sensory data gathered however they desire, both as local and remote copies. (If you attended his talk at TV04, you know what I mean. I understand the notes from his talk and possibly video will sooner or later be available at the World Transhumanist Association's website.)

In either case, there's a considerable onus of proof on either side of the situation, especially as digital editing and photorealistic capabilities become more widespread.

*shrug* Tom, as for starting 'fresh' on Mars, I don't think it'd help much. People are going to be people, regardless.


The comments to this entry are closed.