So I wonder what would Prince Harry and Meghan Markle do if the media really did lay off of them. Totally.
The news has been full of the couple's announcement that they were stepping down from their royal duties to get away from constant hassling from the media and to enjoy more peace and privacy.
According to writers of at least a couple of online opinion pieces, the Sussexes would still not be able to avoid media scrutiny, even stripped of their royal titles and all their royal perks. Sharing that opinion was a host of one of the morning network-news shows, who, during a discussion of the couple backing away from royal life, brought up the adage that "wherever you go, there you are." She, too, believed that the couple wouldn't be able to escape publicity, in all its multiple-personality glory, and find privacy and peace.
But when it comes to privacy, we're all the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, it seems. At least we are in the eyes of advertisers -- and those who wish to collect data on us to feed to those advertisers, catch the crooks among us and, hey, make us pay our bills.
"There's going to be a sense that wherever we go, we may potentially be recorded by a bystander," says Marc Palatucci of the Future Today Institute, in "What Do the 2020s Hold? A Futurist, a Trend Forecaster, and an Astrologer Predict," a Vogue.com article posted Jan. 16.
"With more and more stoops and doorways having a Ring doorbell with a camera on it or with people just discreetly using their phones ... one of the things we'll have to accept is that our data is not a tangible, securable thing in any sort of completely satisfying way. Everywhere we go in our lives and even in our own homes, we're shedding data, and that data can be captured by different companies or other individuals."
Palatucci chooses to wax optimistic about this: "Once we come to this level of acceptance, there could actually be an empowering element, where we're simply more aware of our behaviors, our actions, our words, our image." Ummm. My take on it: We'll be subjected to more intrusive advertisements ... to the point where we'll end up having to pay a subscription to even keep our very dreams from being interrupted by come-hithers from retailers whose pages we clicked on for five seconds.
Every time technology expands, the ways Big Brother can watch us expand. A few days ago, news broke about a start up company that helps police identify folks by matching photos taken of them to their online images. Founder Hoan Ton-That of Australia came up with "a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously and provided it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ranging from local cops in Florida to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security," according to a Jan. 18 story in The New York Times. The tool: A facial recognition app. "You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared," so the story goes.
Wait, wasn't this a TV show, Person of Interest? Where "the Machine" gathers stuff on folks, including their likenesses, to predict who's gonna do terrorist and other criminal stuff? Not quite, but this all seems like a step in that direction ... just another way that life in the 21st century is fast catching up with art.
Don't get me wrong. It's always good to see a porch thief get caught by a Ring doorbell. But even that has a very creepy flip side ... the Ring account hackers who use weak passwords and sign-in processes to see into people's houses and invade their privacy. One can only shudder at the dark-side possibilities of a facial-recognition app.
Meanwhile, Palatucci, in his portion of the "What Do the 2020s Hold?" article, predicted the proliferation of smart eyewear ... glasses that let us see what's going on in front of us, but also provide text and images for our field of vision. We could see maps, make our surroundings prettier, even dictate social-media posts as we look through our glasses at our Facebook pages, he says. So we'd not have our heads buried in our phones. Yeah, uh, we'd just be staring into these glasses while they show us endless ads for the cereal we just ate that morning and tell the cops where we are if we're dodging a warrant. Or, if we're ex-royal celebrities, alert the paparazzi to our whereabouts.
The best of luck to the Sussexes in their new lives. But yeah, wherever they, and we, go, there they, and we, will be.
You know where to find me:
Style on 01/26/2020
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