• Greg

Wonder if you're a good person? One day, a computer will tell you.

Everything you do is being recorded digitally. Well, at least everything you do online is. As we move towards a more digital existence, our actions and thoughts permanently embedded themselves in 1s and 0s.

Most people already are careful about what they put on Facebook. Everyone knows if you publish something stupid and offensive, it can come back to haunt you when applying for your next job. I'm not concerned about that.

What happens when powerful computer programs are able to seamlessly aggregate and attribute data to your identity. Old data stored away becomes unlocked as encryption standards change and vulnerabilities arise. China already stockpiles data from Americans in case quantum computing compromises existing encryption.

At this point, I think it's safe to say that everything you've ever done or said will be recorded, processed and analyzed. Everything will be. At least one day.

Not just the awkward DMs you sent on Snapchat. Your job, your petty office politics on Slack, everything will create a permanent record of your being.

The singularity is the moment when digital programs become smarter than people. There is a moment before. A moment when who we are as people is vividly reflected back at us. No level of self-delusion will be able to hide who you really are.

Algorithms will able to tell if you're a good person. Relatively, absolutely or with whatever metric you decide to measure yourself. You will see exactly what kind of person you are. And what kind of person everyone else is. I call this moment the illumination.

So many of our thoughts, intentions, and actions are secret. At least we hope they are. I remember when back in the 1970s, you could avoid a speeding ticket in one state by simply driving to the next state over. Now you can't run away from a 150 character thought from 10 years ago.

The things you share online were only momentarily private.

What will you see when you're forced to look at who you are really?

How will others judge you?

Will others understand the actions you saw as necessary evils at the time?

So often our worst actions and thoughts come about from implied necessity. Doing one terrible thing to prevent a worse. At least from our perspective.

Will the rest of the world share your perspective? Will it understand the times you were selfish, greedy, and hurt others?

I ask you to be self-reflective now. While your actions and thoughts may yet feel private. One day they won't be. Maybe we should start acting that way now.

How would you act if you expected complete transparency? Would you change anything if you couldn't have secrets anymore?

We often think of judgment day as the moment after you die. God comes down and judges you. All of your secrets and actions laid bare. We might not have to wait for God or death. We're building the same system right now.

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