Be careful what you wish for

Imagine you are back in 1968. It is the era of free love, of mass protests against the Vietnam War, of young people marching for civil rights.

Somebody comes up to you and says that they can give you Captain Kirk’s communicator. You can carry it in your pocket, you can use it to call your friends from wherever you are, or instantly look up any known fact in the Universe. It can even display a map that shows where you are, and tells you how to get to where you want to go.

Of course such a technology would be wildly beyond what you are used to. It would all sound like a fantastical vision from centuries in the future.

“Oh,” he then remembers to add, “there’s just one more thing. This little gadget will also continuously track your location in the world, and will immediately inform the Government and major corporations exactly where you are at all times, and keep a record of where you’ve been.”

At this point you will realize that this person is completely out of his mind. “Hey man,” you tell him, “I’d have to be an idiot to agree to something like that. Maybe you should lay off the weed for while.”

One thought on “Be careful what you wish for”

  1. I just read the chilling early Asimov short story “The Dead Past”: in a dystopic near future academic research is strictly controlled in order, as it turns out, to repress the development of time-viewing technology. The connection with your post is a spoiler…

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