The Latent Potential of Privacy Technologies: How Our Future Will Be Shaped by Today’s Privacy Decisions

In his new chapter published in a volume with the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, ReD Associates partner and former RAND researcher William “Bill” Welser brings much-needed clarity to our decisions regarding privacy and technology. Bill and his colleagues approach the issue from a multi-disciplinary perspective, exploring the implications of technological capabilities such as artificial agents and an increased velocity of information through a social and cultural lens. What do these possible changes mean for us in our businesses, in our governments, and in the fabric of our everyday lives.

In the piece, we are presented with three plausible future scenarios: each one unfolds with a different set of societal goals, values and priorities. These future scenarios—“The Pursuit of Happiness and Health”, “The Pursuit of Personal Convenience and Economic Growth,” and “The Pursuit of Order and Security”—give us the tools to have more constructive conversations. Many of the possible futures challenge conventional wisdom—corporations often have a more secure plan for personal data storage and protection than individuals do—and every scenario demands that we take time to reflect on the future we want to see.

 As with all our work here at ReD, Bill’s paper strives to provide clarity to our partners and clients in the midst of an Information Age still in its infancy.  As advances in technology allow us to exploit information at scale and in near-real time, we have some urgent questions to answer about the roles we want to play as consumers as well as citizens. How do we make sense of today so that we can achieve our vision of tomorrow?


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