Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Big Data

Big data is one of those things that, perhaps, doesn't get the consideration it deserves from most people.

Certainly, not from me...

Sort of an amorphous term, abstract to most people.  Just a couple of words that sound techish.

I read an article a while back that got me to thinking about it more than I had.
It prompted me to go read more about the big data idea, even...
Here is a bit of it:

But it was not just about "likes" or even Facebook: Kosinski and his team could now ascribe Big Five values based purely on how many profile pictures a person has on Facebook, or how many contacts they have (a good indicator of extraversion). But we also reveal something about ourselves even when we're not online. For example, the motion sensor on our phone reveals how quickly we move and how far we travel (this correlates with emotional instability). Our smartphone, Kosinski concluded, is a vast psychological questionnaire that we are constantly filling out, both consciously and unconsciously.
 Above all, however—and this is key—it also works in reverse: not only can psychological profiles be created from your data, but your data can also be used the other way round to search for specific profiles: all anxious fathers, all angry introverts, for example—or maybe even all undecided Democrats? Essentially, what Kosinski had invented was sort of a people search engine. He started to recognize the potential—but also the inherent danger—of his work.
 To him, the internet had always seemed like a gift from heaven. What he really wanted was to give something back, to share. Data can be copied, so why shouldn't everyone benefit from it? It was the spirit of a whole generation, the beginning of a new era that transcended the limitations of the physical world. But what would happen, wondered Kosinski, if someone abused his people search engine to manipulate people? He began to add warnings to most of his scientific work. His approach, he warned, "could pose a threat to an individual's well-being, freedom, or even life." But no one seemed to grasp what he meant.

So, yeah...

The futurist in me thought technology was meant to free us.
Maybe, not so much.

I knew all this was happening, but only when you dig into it do you have to confront how terrifying the scope of it really is.

The link, again.
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