Edward Snowden has become a household name as the famous or infamous National Security Agency (NSA) document leaker and whistleblower. He notoriously outed the mass surveillance of ordinary American citizens and people around the world by the United States and allied governments, with the cooperation of major telecommunications companies. When Snowden revealed these mass surveillance programs to the public, it led to a major debate on privacy vs. security in the computer age—a debate that continues to rage right up to the present.
To avoid arrest and almost certain conviction on espionage charges that would likely mean decades in jail, Snowden is now in self-imposed exile in Russia.
But that hasn’t stopped him from appearing for lectures, debates, panel discussions, and committee meetings in New York, Princeton, and at many other locations around the United States and the world.
Edward Snowden via “Snowbot”
How does Snowden do it? For his appearances in the New York area, he uses a 5’2” robot called a “BeamPro.” It has two wheels, two legs, a flat screen monitor, a camera, and microphones, all of which Snowden controls from his computer keyboard at an undisclosed location in Russia. It was quickly dubbed the “Snowbot.”
For appearances farther afield from the Manhattan offices of the American Civil Liberties Union, where the Snowbot resides, Snowden speaks from screens and monitors on location through encrypted video teleconferencing.
For the full story, see “I, Snowbot,” by Andrew Rice, at nymag.com.
All of this modern robotic and communications technology gives Snowden a great deal of freedom, not to mention a decent income from speaking fees, despite his confinement in Russia. Although his body is confined to an apartment and neighborhood in Russia, he can go virtually anywhere he wants, meet new people, and engage in an active public life.
It’s a brave new world!
And yet, to long-time readers of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772), it all sounds strangely familiar.
For more on Snowbot and heaven, please click here to read on.