Short Film Idea Parodying Surveillance State - Please Take It From MeSubmitted by Tman2000 on Thu, 08/01/2013 - 02:19
I have a concept for a film. Please, if you make films take this idea free, it's yours.
The idea is a future world where all information is connected. It's at the point where even matter is connected. There's no conceivable gap between the real and the virtual, the physical or digital. Obviously, that's symbolic, but it allows for a contrivance.
You see, the NSA/FBI/CIA possess a tool called something or other which is used against 'terrorists'. The tool does two things: it deletes 'you' from existence, but, as part of that, deletes any evidence you ever existed including any memories anyone has of you.
Of course, the audience remembers...
The point is that in debating this tool all the familiar nonsense is thrown out there: "we live in an interconnected world, we can't use tools of the past" or "this is only used against terrorists" or "there are checks and balances".
The message of the film comes as the plot faces characters off against this powerful tool. In trying to resist or oppose its effects, or the will of the establishment that possesses it, the characters learn that a powerful enough tool inherently lacks checks and balances.
I envision a scene where someone is 'X'ed, a main character, and everyone wakes up the next day, still fighting the good fight, not realizing that they have no memory - not even the bad guys have any record - of the main key guy that had just been deleted. It would be very surreal for the audience.
The point of it all is that when people say, "Go ahead and read my emails, what's the harm?" they're missing the point that power creates its own evil. There aren't probably NSA agents listening to most of us, giggling at our intimate conversations with spouses.
Consent of the governed: the ability for the people to oppose and change the course of government when that government's will opposes the people. This implies a situation where, in fact, government and the people might disagree. Preserving consent of the governed is all about leaving avenues open for the people to oppose government and the government is left helpless to prevent it.
Mass surveillance closes one of those avenues. It makes it so the government can identify and eliminate opposing thought before it can ever metastasize into even a vanilla democratic movement.
So, going to my extreme futuristic scenario, I mean to focus on this idea that opposition to the central plan or opinion is literally existentially impossible.
First, violent extremists are 'X'd. Then, people having no memory of them, but still possessing the X tool, decide that Xing is for luddites who want to 'unplug' from the system.
If they unplugged, well, then X wouldn't be able to stop them if they became violent extremists. So they are 'X'd.
Next, people who disagree with the majority opinion are 'X'd. No one's a luddite, because memory of them has all been deleted. No, the threat to society are those who would make it all 'ungovernable' by daring to present another opinion. There's a brief discussion of whether this is right or wrong. There is still a prevailing opinion that government should govern with the consent of the governed. It's not having an idea that's dangerous, it's losing contentment if your idea isn't accepted. They ask: is it really dangerous? Someone admits: well, we don't know, with X we have no idea if its use is justified or not because each time we lose all memory of those who are 'X'd, all we have is our judgment today. Someone else argues: what about due process? Another person says, infamously: security comes from certainty, due process is reactive, it imposes certainty only after the harm caused by uncertainty takes its effect, we use our judgment today, the best we have, and that is the beauty of X, we know everyone who might be a threat, and we have absolute power over them before they ever become one, X is utter certainty, X is utter security, X is utopia.
So, next you have a populace where everyone is content with the prevailing political opinion. But there isn't equality, some people are dumb, or slow, or greedy. There are bumps in smooth society. A council is convened to 'X' those on the margins of the bell curve. An argument is made: how do we know we haven't done this before? It seems we'll just keeping 'X'ing until no ones left. Another, villainous, person argues: but that's it, X is our God now, we must assume we've done this before, and that we'll do it again, X is the all knowing, all doing singularity that is leading mankind to perfection and divinity, and should be worshipped as God.
Next you have a populace of hyper able, like minded people. It seems like a utopia. There's evidence that it's been like this for a while, where once there was a more chaotic society. There are ruins/signs of that earlier society. The only division is over X, which is openly praised and/or worshiped. Some people see the ruins and graffiti and raise concerns and regrets, even though the ruins are universally regarded as ugly and distasteful. The concerns are more esoteric. There is an argument over X, whether it should be altered, maybe a clock added so people can know at least how frequently it's used. A main character gets 'X'd.
His disciples continue the fight, but without memory of him, their efforts and logic in opposing X are lost.
More continue to get 'X'd, until the couple remaining don't even remember why they are fighting X, since so many of their memories about it were tied to their missing comrades. All they know is that they must fight it. This is sort of the final 'chase' scene, or 'desperate' scene.
There's sort of a flash forward after the next X, that shows two people in a room, and one of them is the main villain. They are quiet, typing, seemingly oblivious. Their work seems routine. One of the them sneers at the other. You see one type something 'X' related. The other disappears.
Some time seems to pass, the one guy is the only human left. He has a short monologue about X. He can't recall if he created it, or not, but has doubts about whether anyone ever existed besides himself. All he knows is that he has major gaps in his memory of his own life. He wonders what X is for, whether it is safe, but concludes that it's important, and probably must be used. He uses it, and disappears. The Earth is lifeless.
The moral of the story is that omniscience and omnipotence are evils in and of themselves. Privacy, exclusive knowledge possessed by the individual is a self-sustaining power. It's a firewall that defends individuals from oblivion. It's you putting your foot down and demanding that you have a right to exist, and there is no argument anyone else can ever make that will infringe on that right because that right was formed in your mind, of your soul, which you have exclusive property to.
In other words, mere infringements on privacy are the beginnings of the dismantling of your exclusive rights to your own mind and soul. And the author of that sort of tyranny and collectivism is quite frankly Mr. Oblivion himself. Mr. Fallen and Wicked whose plan for enlightenment, whose singularity, is the death of us all.