Comments about Total Recall
Sims296a3: Digital Commerce Group
Our information technology slant on Total Recall takes the following
The main protagonist in Total Recall, played by Arnold, had his every
move followed by his enemies, because he had a sensor bug implanted in
his nose. This sort of electronic surveilance is already possible
with similar sorts of electronic bracelets and devices. Before the
age of electronics, it was not possible to follow someone's every move,
and the ability to track someone in this way brings up serious privacy
concerns. If such privacy concerns win out, then perhaps electronic
surveillance will be outlawed, even though the technological capability
exists. Perhaps if Arnold's privacy rights had been better protected,
he never would have had a bug implanted in his nose.
Total Recall also showed us a memory implant machine; an electronic
behemoth capable of adding memories into the brain. Perhaps this
machine was meant to be a potential new and ultimate form of efficient
information delivery. Thankfully because of unsolved ethical issues and
dangers in memory implants, directly implanting memories is not even yet
on the scientific horizon, and will not be until biologists better understand
how the brain works, how memories form, and how humans think.
What this machine does, however, is point out the potential blur between
real and virtual worlds. It is already possible to create memories from
virtual reality walk-throughs. The only significant difference between
the experiences in the virtual display and the real world might be that
the user knows that the display is virtual. What would the user think
if he did not know it was a virtual world? Can memories be encoded
in an electronic chip?
A final expose will be to explore the inherent similarities between power
centralization in the movie and in contemporary digital reality. Total Recall shows us
that the ability to control information is what yields power. Within context,
the boss of the planet hid knowledge of the atmosphere generating machine,
through which he was able to monopolize oxygen - the essential substance of life.
Similarly, a look at contemporary governmental and corporate culture indicates
that increasing numbers of people are being marginalized from the decision making
process because they are purposely left in the dark about critical information.
It is possible (although paranoic, some will argue) that the control of information
will only become tighter. This is because digital commerce has brought to the platter
of every person the ability to communicate without regards to distance and time. Ergo,
only those who need to know, know: the role of the mediator and messenger has ended.
Conceivably, the only members of a secret future plot to crash say, the NYSE,
will be the two disgruntled brokers and their modems and telephones.
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