The essence of privacy is people's right to private information. Why do we need privacy? What is the meaning of privacy?

The most common meaning of privacy lies in self-protection and prevention of social pressure, and so on. In addition, privacy also affects personal interests, many private information are valuable. For example, online shopping platforms can set higher prices for price-insensitive user by analyzing user information. Some immoral sellers even send inferior goods and fakes to buyers who never return goods.

However, these meanings of privacy have negative influence: privacy protects us from being judged by others, but also undermines social cooperation and the formation of trust; we can get better social services by providing private information, such as recommendations for goods and entertainment, and health services. Therefore, we need to strike a balance between privacy and the openness of private information.

This also tells us: We should be tolerant toward people. If society becomes more free and tolerant, people will be willing to open more private information, these information will be integrated into the dynamic order of the whole society, and on this basis more dynamic order will be generated.

The most important meaning of privacy is related to our freedom, and there is a detailed discussion in the following Privacy and Freedom.

Transparent Society

Most of human privacy will be difficult to maintain in the future, except thinking privacy. From the perspective of information, human society will become more and more transparent. The main reasons are:

  • Human life is increasingly dependent on various IT systems. For example, we use a lot of IT systems in work, shopping, and travel, and the relevant information is automatically recorded.
  • Security measures in the future society will become more and more rigorous. The widespread use of monitoring facilities will make it difficult for people to hide their outside activities.
  • Since it is difficult to distinguish between human beings and their private AI, people's online activities need to be recorded and monitored, to prevent people's private AI from doing something dangerous.
  • In virtual worlds, everything is information, and important information must be stored. Therefore, for the managers of virtual worlds, people's behavior privacy and body privacy do not exist.
  • As for body privacy, medical technologies depend on human body information. In order to obtain good medical services, people have to allow their own body information to be collected and used. In the long term, as human beings gradually solve all medical problems, individual genes can be modified, the problems caused by body privacy will gradually fade out in the future.

The more fundamental reason is that people's social life is a whole, and our social activities are related to each other and influence each other. When we disclose our private information in certain aspects, the private information of other aspects can also be inferred. Even if the inferred results are not completely accurate, it is enough to make a lot of people's privacy meaningless.

Therefore, when we try to maintain our own privacy, we should focus on whether our information will be leaked or abused.

Related content: Information Openness

Privacy Censorship

In the process of maintaining social security, the government will inevitably collect and analyze people's private information. For many people this is unacceptable, but we can imagine that criminals in the future can use 3D printers to produce guns at home, use biotechnology to cultivate viruses, and command their own private AI to conduct hacker attacks, and so on. The fundamental problem is that in the future, the ability of human individuals is too powerful, and destruction is always much easier than construction. So giving up part of our privacy is the price we have to pay for social security.

What we can really do is to ask the government to use AI to detect dangerous and illegal behaviors. AI does not judge humans by ordinary criteria, and they have no conflicts of interest with human beings, they will not disclose our privacy for private interests, it is equivalent to protecting people's privacy to some extent.

In the early stage, the abnormal and dangerous behaviors detected by AI can only be handed over to humans to process. In the future, with the advancement of AI technology, there should be fewer and fewer affairs handled by humans. Gradually, all censorship should be done independently by AI, and humans are only responsible for regular inspections of AI's work. This is also in line with the idea advocated by Dorderism: Try to replace humans with AI in government work. ([The Scope of Government] (politics.html#the-scope-of-government))

When the brain-computer interface (BCI) technology matures in the future, it is not only that the human brain can get external data directly, but also the thinking information inside the human brain can be accessed directly from the outside. Some governments will inevitably try to access and control people's thinking on the grounds of national or social security. We must be extremely careful about such behaviors. Some security issues do need the government to get some people's thinking information, such as suspects of terrorist attacks or vicious crimes. However, if the government abuses this power, the free will of human beings will be destroyed, and people may even take the initiative to restrict their thinking, thus greatly inhibiting the emergence of new dynamic order.

Security issues involve a wide range of social fields, and their boundaries are very vague. How to supervise the government in terms of privacy censorship will become a thorny problem. May be only by replacing most of the human officials with selfless and pure rational AI, can we fundamentally prevent the government from abusing this power.

Privacy and AI

As discussed in The Boundary of Intelligence, human society's information is the core resource for AI to generate intelligence, and only when human beings assign work to AI, can AI's intelligence be useful. The scope of human privacy will largely determine how much information AI can get and the scope of its work. Therefore, privacy is not only about the right of human beings to control their own information, but also one of the key factors for the power division of human beings and AI.

Privacy and Freedom

The more information expose to the outside world, the more likely we are to be manipulated, and the more difficult it is to maintain our free will, so privacy is one of the key factors that affect our freedom.

As most of our privacy will be difficult to maintain in the future, thinking privacy will be our most important privacy, and we must protect our thinking privacy.

Related content:Defend Freedom