From what I've read of the Person of Interest set-up, it's downright creepy and gives me a feeling that it's part of a campaign to desensitize you for the Surveillance/Police State.
Seriously creepy.You are being watched. The government has a secret system: a machine that spies on you every hour of every day. I know, because I built it. I designed the machine to detect acts of terror, but it sees everything. Violent crimes involving ordinary people; people like you. Crimes the government considered 'irrelevant'. They wouldn't act, so I decided I would. But I needed a partner, someone with the skills to intervene. Hunted by the authorities, we work in secret. You'll never find us, but victim or perpetrator, if your number's up... we'll find you.
Season one opening voice-over by Mr. Finch
It could be as you say, to desensitize US to the ever present, omni-eyed beast, like they have built in other countries. The machine seems to be a "good guy" and on our side, acting on behalf of life.
Is that because Finch is a good person and he not only programmed it for this watchdog function/purpose, his program is by extension also good?
We like to believe good outweighs bad, and it should, but what if society and/or that programmer is bad? Think of what all we're building now. Please don't misunderstand, I enjoy enjoy a good drone strike as much as the next guy, but we are seriously starting to creep me out.
I grew up reading/watching science fiction that is now reality, so I see that show as a warning, that this is now possible, no longer just sci-fi.
Reminds me of a joke: What is the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers?
Mechanical engineers build weapons. Civil engineers build targets.
Agreed. And seriously scarey. For this reason:
"You know what's wrong with scientific power?" Malcolm said.
Its a form of inherited wealth. And you know what assholes congenitally rich people are. It never fails."
Hammond said, "What is he talking about?
Harding made a sign, indicating delirium. Malcolm cocked his eye.
"I will tell you what I am talking about," he said.
"Most kinds of power require a substantial sacrifice by whoever wants the power.
There is an apprenticeship, a discipline lasting many years.
Whatever kind of power you want. President of the company. Black belt in karate. Spiritual guru.
Whatever it is you seek, you have to put in the time, the practice, the effort.
You must give up a lot to get it. It has to be very important to you.
And once you have attained it, its your power. It can't be given away: it resides in you.
It is literally the result of your discipline.
Now what is interesting about this process is that,
by the time someone has acquired the ability to kill with his bare hands,
he has also matured to the point where he won't use it unwisely.
So that kind of power has a built-in control.
The discipline of getting the you so that you won't abuse it.
But scientific power is like inherited wealth: attained without discipline.
You read what others have done, and you take the next step.
You can do it very young. You can make progress very fast.
There is no discipline lasting many decades.
There is no mastery: old scientists are ignored.
There is no humility before nature.
There is only a get-rich-quick, make-a-name-for-yourself-fast philosophy.
Cheat, lie, falsify--it doesn't matter. Not to you, or to your colleagues.
No one will criticize you. No one has any standards.
They all trying to do the same thing: to do something big, and do it fast.
"And because you can stand on the shoulders of giants, you can accomplish something quickly.
You don't even-know exactly what you have done, but already you have reported it; patented it, and sold it.
And the buyer will have even less discipline than you. The buyer simply purchases the power, like any commodity.
The buyer doesnt even conceive that any discipline might be necessary.
Hammond said, "Do you know what he is talking about?"
"I haven't a clue" Hammond said.
Ill make it simple" Malcolm said.
"A karate master does not kill people with his bare hands. He does not lose his temper and kill his wife.
The person who kills is the person who has no discipline no restraint,
and who has purchased his power in the form of a Saturday night special.
And that is the kind of power that science fosters, and permits.
And that is why you think that to build a place like this is simple."
"It was simple," Hammond insisted.
'Then why did it go wrong?"
--from Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. New York: Ballantine Books, 1990, pp.305-307.