Hey everybody — here is a line-by-line transcript for EdwardSnowden’s “Thoughts on Technology and Democracy” video. We are basing an animated short film on Mr. Snowden's video, so you can refer to this Transcript when contributing handmade animations, graphics, illustrations, and photo sequences for each of the lines below. Please check out additional info at the bottom of this page for specifics on how to contribute to the project.
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I didn’t record that part by the way, I’ll start recording now.
I’m Ed Snowden, I’m 32 years old, I used to work for the NSA but now I work as the Director of the Freedom of Press Foundation.
Is today’s technology good or bad for democracy?
(laughs) That’s a...that’s a really complex question, it’s a really good one, um...look, nobody’s going to argue that there’s not a lot of places where technology does hurt.
When we look at the context of mass surveillance where suddenly information is being collected about all of us all of the time without regard to any individual criminal suspicion, right, people are starting to be afraid of sharing minority opinions.
If you’re in the majority, right, you’re safe.
But if you say, “You know, I don’t think that’s right, I don’t think that’s a good idea, we should do this instead,” and it’s really unpopular, that could lose you friends, or worse.
Ultimately, some parts of technology are terrible.
There are days when, you know, I think that things are pretty bad, but there are also moments that I see that things could get really good, and I think technology actually will improve things over time.
For example, let’s take energy.
Right now, we gotta drive our car to a gas station, we gotta pay for oil.
There’s less and less oil every day because we’re pumping it out of the group faster than it’s being created through geologic processes, but we’re developing new technologies: solar power, wind power, we’re developing the battery technologies that allow us to transport this from the middle of the desert where the sun’s always shining, uh, to the places where it’s always cloudy and we don’t really see it.
Which means it’s gonna get cheaper and cheaper to fill up to the point that eventually, you no longer really notice it.
Then it’s gonna be your whole house, then it’s gonna be your whole city, and this is just talking about energy.
Things are getting better in education, where a kid who might not go to the best school can attend a lecture from the best professor in the world on the subject that night for free, online.
You know when we look at the progress of technology in our medicine, in our science, suddenly things that were in prior generations completely incurable, are now things that we don’t even notice.
Generations before, these [removes glasses] wouldn’t have existed and I would have been a blind man, but today I can live like anybody else, I can participate, I can live a free and fulfilled and happy, healthy life, and it’s only getting better.
So what does this mean, when we collect all of these things together?
What technology can ultimately provide, if we make sure that it works for us rather than against us, is liberty.
People are more liberated to be creative.
People are more liberated to share.
People are more liberated to engage in their democracy and ultimately create things that they wouldn’t be able to do if they were bagging groceries and working three jobs because they have no other choice because they gotta fill their car up at a pump where there’s less oil and it costs more each year.
And look, life isn’t perfect.
It’s never going to be.
But it doesn’t need to be.
When we think about what life in our democracy is, what it’s about and what the costs of it are, the cost of democracy is uncertainty.
We don’t know where things are gonna go, but we do know, ultimately, that we’re the ones who will be deciding.
Here are some things to keep in mind when contributing your art for this project:
Created: Jun 16, 2016Document Media