If you don’t have time for John Oliver’s piece (which I highly recommend: he mixes humor, satire, and facts well) you hopefully know who Edward Snowden. Snowden is main star of a recent award-winning documentary about him (titled CitizenFour).

Snowden helped reveal numerous documents to journalists exposing questionable practices of the US government. Included in this information was details of mass surveillance, which catches petabytes of data and uses algorithms to categorize and find meaning in it. I am not exagerating when I say the US government has catalogued and stored tens of millions of voice prints, and other identity information.

Privacy is important for personal development and helps individuals feel safe to be themselves. I don’t need to cite the data in the link in the last sentence for you to remember how different it feels when you’re on camera than it feels just being, in literally any context. But, the impacts are far greater than simply how mass surveillance makes people feel.

It isn’t unreasonable to think that increased integration of this data, and improved computer understanding of language and semantics, to create systems which can be used to effectively and totally suppress political dissent and dissenters. You don’t need a thought police looking through your TV, when everyone puts their thoughts on the internet and you can simply let your AI read it.