Jamais Cascio


Participatory Panopticon
37 minutes, 17mb, recorded 2005-05-02
Jamais Cascio
Jamais Cascio, self-proclaimed freelance world-builder, has a bold vision for the future. He calls it the Participatory Panopticon, and it spells the end of privacy and the end of secrecy. While personal privacy is eroding, the ability of those in power to lie, cheat, and steal is also becoming increasingly impaired.

The term "panopticon" was coined by Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century for his model for a prison in which the inmates are watched at all times. This term has now been repurposed to describe a society in which everyone is being recorded and simultaneously is recording everything around them, a society we are creating today.

This keynote address from MeshForum delves deeply into the technology that has created "sousveillance" (watching from below) - a kind of citizen photo and video patrol that watches the watchers. Discussing how camera phones could evolve into Personal Memory Assistants, Jamais Cascio paints a picture of a future where no one would ever forget anything and no activity would go unrecorded. The seeds of this imagined future exist now in current projects monitoring politicians and human rights abuses.

IT Conversations' publication of this program is underwritten by your donations and:

Jamais Cascio is a San Francisco-based freelance world-builder. As a writer and consultant, Mr. Cascio specializes in the design and creation of plausible scenarios of the future, combining developments in science, technology, social trends, and political systems. He has consulted for a wide variety of clients including government agencies, major computer firms, non-profit organizations, European postal services, game companies, and television producers. He co-founded and edits WorldChanging, a website providing news and commentary on tools, models, resources and ideas for building a better world. Mr. Cascio has written about the collision of technology and society for Salon, Wired, The Washington Post, Seattle Weekly, Johannesburg Mail & Guardian, and Time magazine. Mr. Cascio has degrees in Anthropology, History and Political Science.


This presentation is one of a series from the MeshForum 2005 Event held in Chicago, Il, May 1-4, 2005.

For Team ITC:

This free podcast is from our MeshForum series.