In the book Mae is assigned to broadcast Stenton’s new aquarium which is now inhabited by creatures from the Marianas Trench thanks to a ship developed by the Circle, specifically the feeding of a new shark who itself is transparent so that one can see the food it eats being quickly processed in its body. I believe that this shark represents the circle and its transparency project and foreshadows the effect of the project.
The transparent shark, is seen devouring any other creatures in its path ad is clearly a symbol for the Circle. Besides devouring everything in its path, the shark itself demonstrates that just because something is transparent doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful and terrifying. The Transparency project has become widely known and has been highly controversial.
Transparency has different meanings in different settings. Scientifically, transparency refers to something that allows light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen. In business, governmental, and social contexts means that operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed. The Circle takes this to another level by using transparency as a means of streaming video and audio of almost all of one’s daily life of everyone, later on in the book this is called “completion” for government officials. Eventually completion becomes the end goal of the Circle, even though nobody is exactly sure what it entails.
The transparency project began in the formation of Seechange and TruYu. Seechange is a new technology made up of small cameras that one is able to put up in any location for private viewing or sharing with the public. TruYu is a technology invented by Ty and creates a single online identity for a person – ” the Unified Operating System, combined everything online that had been separate and sloppy – users’ social media profiles, their payment systems, their various passwords, their email accounts, usernames, preferences, every last tool and manifestation of their interests… Your devices knew who you were, and your one identity – the TruYou, unbendable and unmaskable – was the person paying signing up, responding, viewing and reviewing, seeing and being seen”. These two programs led to the later idea of transparency. By combining the camera and data aspects together, the Circle could see everything and know everything about a person.
Transparency although not intended to be powerful and dangerous however that is how many people see it. The program seems like a good idea on paper yet when enforced in a real life situation seems not only like a breach in privacy but also creates problems in social relationships. Secrets are important for people to have as too much information isn’t healthy. An example of this idea would be that later on in the book transparency eventually leads to yet another powerful mass data system, PastPerfect. This system is a Circle-created technology that allows someone to search back for all photos and information recorded at any point on one’s ancestors. This information is, of course, public, and when Annie volunteers to be the first to try it out she is deeply and negatively affected by learning some things about her ancestors and having the public know them as well.
In conclusion, the Transparency shark acted as a symbol and foreshadowing tool for how The Circle’s programs would affect the public.