The End of Privacy Means the End of Taboos

We are testing what it is like to lose privacy now because if the species survives, we’ll develop a capability to not be embarrassed anymore. 

Privacy is an artifact of a precommunicative culture.  You’re not gonna have any.  The good thing about that is, a lot of behaviors that we’re embarrassed about or ashamed of, that could be used to control us, will no longer be able to control us because we’ll find out that everybody masturbates or everybody has this kind of sex with their spouse or eats this kind of food or picks their nose, or does whatever. 


They’ll be no privacy so all of a sudden, a lot of taboo won’t be taboo anymore and than which is truly taboo will kind of rise to the surface in a way and we’ll say, well we all can kind of agree that we don’t want to do this.  And we’ll know who’s doing that.  

But I find myself kind of unable to shake my childhood belief that the loss of privacy inherent in these technologies is a precursor to an almost biological or extrasensory loss of privacy that will come as the species evolves.  That we are testing what it is like to lose privacy now because if the species survives, we’ll develop a capability to not be embarrassed by that stuff anymore. 

60 Second Reads is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

European wind farms could meet global energy demand, researchers now say

A new study estimated the untapped potential of wind energy across Europe.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • A new report calculated how much electricity Europe could generate if it built onshore wind farms on all of its exploitable land.
  • The results indicated that European onshore wind farms could supply the whole world with electricity from now until 2050.
  • Wind farms come with a few complications, but the researchers noted that their study was meant to highlight the untapped potential of the renewable energy source in Europe.
Keep reading Show less

Physicists find new state of matter that can supercharge technology

Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
  • The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
  • Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
Keep reading Show less

New vaccine (for cats) nixes allergic reactions for humans

You want one. Now you may be able to survive one.


Photo credit: Jie Zhao
/ Getty contributor
Technology & Innovation
  • Cats live in a quarter of Western households.
  • Allergies to them are common and can be dangerous.
  • A new approach targets the primary trouble-causing allergen.
Keep reading Show less