First, thanks to the proliferation of cheap, powerful sensors, the most commonplace objects can finally understand what we do with them—from umbrellas that know it's going to rain to shoes that know they're wearing out—and alert us to potential problems and programmed priorities. These objects are no longer just dumb, passive matter. With some help from crowdsourcing or artificial intelligence, they can be taught to distinguish between responsible and irresponsible behavior (between recycling and throwing stuff away, for example) and then punish or reward us accordingly—in real time.A Stunning Vision Of Our Interoperable Future
At the heart of "Trillions" is the power of the microprocessor. To date, it's been mostly put at the service of personal computing, using individualized tools that only interact with each other when we tell them to. For the authors, we've gone about as far as we can go in this direction - and that's why we've been so frustrated of late with the seemingly unmanageable firehose of data coming out of the global economy. If, as the authors put it, we want to tame the complexity of our world, we need to walk back down the mountain of personal computing and begin climbing Trillions Mountain, which is based on pervasive computing.When Public Data Is Too Public
Federal law protects the confidentiality of your medical records and your conversations with your doctor. There are also strict rules regarding the sale of information used to determine your credit-worthiness, or your eligibility for employment, insurance, and housing. For instance, consumers have the right to view and correct their own credit reports, and potential employers have to ask for your consent before they buy a credit report about you.The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood
Other than certain kinds of protected data—including medical records and data used for credit reports—consumers have no legal right to control or even monitor how information about them is bought and sold. As the FTC notes, “There are no current laws requiring data brokers to maintain the privacy of consumer data unless they use that data for credit, employment, insurance, housing, or other similar purposes.”
In The Information, Gleick neatly captures today’s reality. “We know about streaming information, parsing it, sorting it, matching it, and filtering it. Our furniture includes iPods and plasma screens, our skills include texting and Googling, we are endowed, we are expert, so we see information in the foreground,” he writes. “But it has always been there.”CIA's CTO Gus Hunt: "We try to collect everything and hang on to it forever."
What those breadcrumbs tell is the story of your life. It tells what you've chosen to do. That's very different than what you put on Facebook. What you put on Facebook is what you would like to tell people, edited according to the standards of the day. Who you actually are is determined by where you spend time, and which things you buy. Big data is increasingly about real behavior, and by analyzing this sort of data, scientists can tell an enormous amount about you. They can tell whether you are the sort of person who will pay back loans. They can tell you if you're likely to get diabetes."Big Data" is not without its critics.
They can do this because the sort of person you are is largely determined by your social context, so if I can see some of your behaviors, I can infer the rest, just by comparing you to the people in your crowd. You can tell all sorts of things about a person, even though it's not explicitly in the data, because people are so enmeshed in the surrounding social fabric that it determines the sorts of things that they think are normal, and what behaviors they will learn from each other.
But when it comes to discovery of new talent and the subsequent production of their work, things look much gloomier. After all, recommendation matters only if there's great art to recommend. If that art is selected based on how likely it is to match the success of previous selections and if it's produced based on immediate feedback from the audience, sales might increase, but will anything truly radical emerge out of all this salesmanship?Toward A Complex, Realistic, and Moral Tech Criticism
Morozov's second book, To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism, is the most wide-ranging and generative critique of digital technology I've ever read. There's so much substance to argue about between its covers. At the center of it all, there's a brilliant, idiosyncratic mind at work.A review of Evgeny Morozov’s “To Save Everything, Click Here”
Describing and destroying two concepts -- "Internet-centrism" and "solutionism" -- form the core of his book, and both are fascinating frames for the discourse surrounding our network technologies.
From here it is just one more short step to the buying and selling of our personal data: to insurers in return for lower premiums, to advertisers in return for better deals. Our personal data becomes a new “asset class” and executives respond by “trying to shift the focus [of debate] from purely privacy to what we call property rights” (235). New social pressures emerge as the digitizers follow their path of bits, algorithms and markets (career counsellors now routinely recommend that building a strong presence on LinkedIn is a route to a better job), and we can replace debates about privacy with reassurances about personal choice. “Privacy is mostly an illusion, but you’ll have as much of it as you want to pay for” says Kevin Kelly (236). New companies emerge to optimize our self-presentation on the web (reputation.com), new norms emerge as “If you’re going out with someone, and they don’t have a Facebook profile, you should be suspicious” (Slate’s Farhad Manjoo, quoted on p. 239). Why would you not share your real-time blood alcohol levels with your employer if you don’t have anything to hide? (240).Douglas Rushkoff: Unlike - Why I'm Leaving Facebook
I can no longer justify this arrangement. Today I am surrendering my Facebook account, because my participation on the site is simply too inconsistent with the values I espouse in my work. In my upcoming book Present Shock, I chronicle some of what happens when we can no longer manage our many online presences. I argue - as I always have - for engaging with technology as conscious human beings, and dispensing with technologies that take that agency away.Adaptation from Present Shock:
Instead of our offloading time-intensive tasks to our machines, we attempt to match the speed of our network connections. Thanks to the Internet, we travel more on business not less, we work at all hours on demand, and spend our free time answering email or tending to our social networks. Staring into screens, we are less attuned to light of day and the physiological rhythms of our housemates and co-workers. We are more likely to accept the digital clock's illusion that all time is equivalent and interchangeable. But it isn't.NY Times review of Present Shock: Out of Time: The Sins of Immediacy
Among the intuitive ideas turned tangible by “Present Shock” is “filter failure,” the writer and teacher Clay Shirky’s improved term for what used to be called “information overload.” Mr. Rushkoff’s translation: “Whatever is vibrating on the iPhone just isn’t as valuable as the eye contact you are making right now.”Nassim Taleb: Beware The Big Errors of 'Big Data' and referenced here: Spurious Correlations Everywhere: The Tragedy Of Big Data
Schneier said the threat is often obfuscated by the tremendous technical advances the big data players have offered. Google mail is a safer alternative for average users because there's almost no chance they'll ever lose a message. Apple's iPhone is wildly popular because it's easy to use and to date has proved largely impervious to real-world malware attacks. But behind the security and reliability, there are threats many don't consider.see also: Battle Of The Internet Giants
"I can't find a program that will erase the data on this thing to a reasonable assurance without jailbreaking it," he said, holding up his iPhone. "For me that's bad."
It is not a parallel universe, coexisting with our world but in a different dimension. It is just a bad metaphor that has outlived its usefulness. Using the imagery of a fictitious country makes it harder to have rational arguments about government regulation or commercial exploitation of modern information and communications technologies.Some via. Previously
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