Geo-technology meets science fiction reality

Matt Ball at V1 Magazine has picked up on the issue of invasive geo-technologies in How creepy does the use of geospatial technology need to get before there’s a major backlash? People who study military geotechnology have been pragmatically talking about these technologies for a while, and there is some academic writing on geotechnopolitics which critically address some of the issues featured in Matt’s article, but those discussions have not really hit the mainstream in an integrated way.   V1 Magazine is a geo-specialist’s publication which refreshingly in some feature articles bridges academic, current issues and geospatial technologies.  Geomaticians are not always great at critically discussing the socio-technological implications of the tech they use and develop, thus it is great that Matt is firing up that conversation.

This article reminded me of Enemy of the State, Minority Report or some of the crazy stuff you see on CSI (the cool stuff the good guys & gals use).  The paper includes a reference to the concept of Geoslavery.

a practice in which one entity, the master, coercively or surreptitiously monitors and exerts control over the physical location of another individual, the slave. Inherent in this concept is the potential for a master to routinely control time, location, speed, and direction for each and every movement of the slave or, indeed, of many slaves simultaneously. Enhanced surveillance and control may be attained through complementary monitoring of functional indicators such as body temperature, heart rate, and perspiration.

The idea of geoslavery is featured in science fiction movies like Gamer with third party controlled human avatars, Death Race where a prisoner’s space is treated as a large real multiplayer game broadcast as a reality TV show  or Surrogates which features remotely-controlled surrogates who go out into the world instead of the humans who control them from their technologically souped up arm chairs.  Neal Stephenson, in Snow Crash and the Diamond Age has been discussing these ideas since the mid 80s as has William Gibson in Newromancer, how prescient they were!

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