Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Big Data and the Stubborn Human Person

I've really been looking forward to getting to this topic, but it could almost be a book. I don't have time or the skills to do it justice. There is some really curious stuff amuck.
Sorry for the cliche. If you can think of a better image for this post please comment

A few obvious but still intriguing notes about our crazy 21st century:
The more information we have access to, the more superficial we become.
Despite the promises of the internet as egalitarian, the big people still get served first and they get more of it.
Capitalism is increasingly showing its propensity towards tyranny.
You can only push people so far.

So with that, I'm going to throw out a couple of links...
It is obvious that “big data” – given its contribution to Obama’s authoritative victory – is the future of American politics. Politicians will become more and more dependent upon tracking people’s consumer habits, categorizing them as narrow entities of predictable preferences and behavior, and specializing themselves in the language that appeals to each target group as they tour the country, acting more as affinity group conmen than leaders, statesmen, or even politicians trying to organize a diverse country under the umbrella of a single, global strategy and vision. Politicians will become slick CEOs viewing the public as categories next to empty boxes, and political communication will devolve into an effort to check off each box. The American political process is continually robbing the American individual of agency and autonomy, and now there is a massive technological and media safe-crack set to secure the swindle.

Jaron Lanier

"For instance, he said, “I’d been an early advocate of making information free,” the mantra of the movement that said it was OK to steal, pirate and download the creative works of musicians, writers and other artists. It’s all just “information,” just 1’s and 0’s....
But there’s another way to look at it, which is the technically true way: You gather a ton of information from real live translators who have translated phrases, just an enormous body, and then when your example comes in, you search through that to find similar passages and you create a collage of previous translations.”
“So it’s a huge, brute-force operation?” “It’s huge but very much like Facebook, it’s selling people [their advertiser-targetable personal identities, buying habits, etc.] back to themselves. [With translation] you’re producing this result that looks magical but in the meantime, the original translators aren’t paid for their work—their work was just appropriated. So by taking value off the books, you’re actually shrinking the economy.”

In both cases, there’s this idea that whoever has the biggest computer can analyze everyone else to their advantage and concentrate wealth and power. [Meanwhile], it’s shrinking the overall economy. I think it’s the mistake of our age.”

Back to Masciotra: "The ultimate concern for rebels, individuals with agency and autonomy, and those who refuse to join the team and play the game is how do you move against traffic? How do you freely and strongly move against traffic without getting run over and steamrolled into the pavement?"

Another interesting idea I would like to throw in the mix is the idea of artificial intelligence and singularity.
Some propeller heads out there are confusing the ability to consolidate and organize information with the ability to reason.
At the end of the day a computer is still a set of simple commands.
You can't fabricate wisdom.

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