by Aaron Franz
Predicting the Future
A European based project, FuturICT, seeks to create a computer simulation of the entire Earth. This project is know as the Living Earth Simulator, and will involve scientists from over 25 countries.
"FururICT seeks to revolutionise support for advanced decision making... to enable planetary scale simulations of our social system powered by real time data... enhancing prospects for international cooperation and a sustainable future."
-FuturICT five page summary
Like so many other projects such as
the EU's INDECT, and the Pentagon's infamous 2002 Total Information Awareness, FuturICT's Living Earth Simulator seeks to collect and make sense of as much data as is humanly intelligently possible. The project summary describes "past work" in this way,
"[it] has brought advances in data aquisition both from the Internet (texts, search queries, and social networks) and sensor data (data from infrastructures such as traffic sensors and CCTV cameras, or data from mobile devices)."
To put it simply: FuturICT is yet another project aimed at building a totally surveilled and efficient global society. Such a transparent society is not only being advocated by top AI developers, but it is indeed being built up little by little as we enter into a world where all human interaction is catalogued, and saved into massive data bases. Eventually, huge AI networks will effectively monitor, catalogue, and administrate human society. The AI aspect of this story is not mentioned specifically by FuturICT, but it is very important.
Playing to popular memes and propaganda
This FuturICT summary speaks to many of the talking points and memes that we regularly hear coming from the media. Such points and buzz terms found in this summary report include:
- international cooperation
- shortages of natural resources
The project actually seeks to build a system so powerful that it can simulate the future. A major goal is "to detect early warnings of impending crisis events," so that political policies and actions may be taken to actually prevent disaster. As with all other emerging technologies, this massive simulation is being billed as a way to keep us safe.
The need to develop technologies "to protect privacy and confidentiality in data mining, storage, and processing" is mentioned in the summary as well. It is strange that a project aimed at understanding society, and individual activity to the utmost degree is also interested in insuring privacy. The reality of this situation is that individual privacy is fading away.
Market research is advancing quickly due to the tremendous amount of consumer information that is now available. The ability to use this consumer data effectively is sold as a way to improve the economy,
"the recent surge in data available on consumer behaviour and preferences offers desperately needed opportunities to boost profits and fight against the current economic downturn."
Again, it deserves to be mentioned that this project is being offered as a solution to global problems. A more advanced technological society is being billed as the solution to every problem known to man (including man himself). The "sustainability" meme actually plays to the idea that the major problems in our world are all man-made, and that humans should therefore be controlled/ curtailed to greater and greater extents. In the name of "sustainability" human behavior is to be monitored, predicted, restricted, and controlled by an all-seeing and benevolent mainframe intelligence.
There is much more to this story. Please be sure to check back with theageoftransitions.com for updates and more news.