Scott Adams suggests a panopticon with privacy: Could such a world exist?

In my book The Dilbert Future I imagined a world with cameras in every room, and on every street corner, recording all the time, but encrypted so that literally no one could view the video without a court order. You wouldn't need much of a police force in that scenario because every crime would be on video, along with the entire escape route, all the way to the criminal's bedroom. Maybe that's too Big Brother for you, but if you reflect on how much privacy you've already given up to technology, it's not that much of a stretch.
--Scott Adams via

This sounds like an excellent plot for a sci fi film. Without some colossally amazing improvements in camera and encryption technology, there are major risks. Diebold would probably try to make these cameras, and fail miserably, just as they have consistently failed at creating reliable voting machines.

Only the consequences are far more dire than a stolen election here or there. Imagine a vast network of cameras recording forever the actions of every single human. Yet through incompetence, that data falls into the hands of anyone willing to pay.

Organized crime? Obsessed exes? Those are just the misanthropic ones. The long arm of the law would have access too. A world of no forgetting. Such a world would be a realization of Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon, a place of invisible omniscience. Though a very interesting concept, above all one shouldn't forget a panopticon is still a prison.

And turning free society into a prison is something that should give us all pause.



2 responses
Aside from "court order" and "encryption", Adam's scenario breaks no new ground and seems to have been written in the 1970's. "You wouldn't need much of a police force" - You would need a force of cam watchers and a police force to follow up. Cams don't stop crime, they only record crime.

Re; Diebold - Agreed.

People tend to believe that more information* and more product features** are magical keys to success when in fact they are too often major stumbling blocks to one's movement in a beneficial direction to get stuff done.

* The entire foundation of the multi-billion dollar diet industry and it's mind-bending offerings of conflicting information is built on the singular hope that vegetables and exercise are not the way.

**Posterous account + theme + background/font color + auto-post + edit blog + manage comments = hours + headache.
Email to = Instant blog. Huzzah!

“Seeing others positively reveals our own positive traits,” Wood says.I totally agree with this.When I read this blog, I see my thoughts in this writing.