Sideswipes: What Will Matter This Year

As 2015 begins, there are two cultural zeniths that will be peaking: privacy and turning off. This is a very small look at why these peaks matter. The meaning has to do with limits of human nature. How will we maintain a private life and peace of mind when everything is public, and nothing has an off switch?


If the Sony hack did one thing for culture in general, it brought attention to the fact that nothing collected in a digital world is private. Collection means access, period. Someone who wants information can always find a way to get it, and yet we're only expanding methods of information collection: trackers, cameras, beacons, glass, drones. This puts all of us in a very public place, constantly. Expect more conversation about how this is both a business and a moral quandary we have yet to face as corporations continue to collect data and store it, with no real conversation about why, how long, or how we're a part of that process despite the fact that it's data about us.



Turning Off

We are living in an always-on culture moving quickly toward an always-connected culture. This is nowhere near as worrisome as the myth of progress that this kind of connectivity will deliver. The myth is that connected devices are "smart," and therefore we get smarter as a culture by connecting more things to other things. At the same time we're seeing a rise in experiential festivals where people turn off in order to connect. Expect more zeal for things like Burning Man as we call bullsh*$ on the myth of an always-connected culture.

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