Fine, take all my data

I just read that WhatsApp will share data with Facebook to “better serve me”.

I don’t really care any more. I give up. Take it all. Serve me. Serve me the ads that will better serve you.

Have you thought about this? The fact that we’re approaching complete transparency—coming close enough that it’s considerable, when it once wasn’t—betrays its inevitability.

How long will it be until we’re all digitally naked? The amount of dirt you can dig up online is insane, but as it becomes normalized, so will the effect of revealing that dirt become diminished. We’ll become complacent (as though we aren’t already). Everyone will get 15 minutes of fame, but they’ll be stretched out and cut up into tiny moments (the fame, not the people) so as to last a lifetime filled with hope and envy and enough of whatever’s in between to cancel it all out.

Okay, that’s lofty. And though I don’t necessarily see this transformation as a bad thing, I’ll let that implication loom. It’s not a matter of when, it’s a matter of how. I don’t think 1984 is too far off, but I think our evil overlords will be more clever. In fact, I think they’ll be right alongside us.

Am I evil too?

I mean, damn. I’m in marketing/advertising. I’m probably going to use data collected from me at some point for something. In the same vein as our global water system recycling through humans, I’m eventually going to use myself to… erm, analyze myself.

To some extent, it benefits us consumers to have our needs better understood by vendors. But to another extent, we’re all consumers. Should we be taking that lightly?

So it’s us against who?

I think it’s us against nobody — us against an inevitable future — us against us.

I think we’re all adding little pieces to a puzzle. Every new bit of datum we connect to, spy on or account for is another piece that will shape our inevitable data-driven future.

One day we’ll wake up — each of us on a different day — and look back at what we’ve built together, without an architect or plan other than to get better and understand more. Our hive mind will have fully come to fruition, incidentally and just like the stories, but without the “man” to hold us down. It’s always just been us, sitting in a cave, watching our own shadow grow and ebb and sway.

Oh, well this is just depressing

I don’t think it is. I try to withhold judgment, because I’m small. The world won’t stop for me to give it directions, so I shouldn’t expect any amount of flailing to do any sort of good.

This is just where we’re going.

The more we get to know one another — intimately and numerically — the more we’ll have to react to. And more reason to change and become different people.

Just as with the rapid onset of any other new technology or popular lifestyle or conquering horde.

Because if we really had a problem with data collection, we’d stop using these services. I’m not saying spying is okay, but we’re already buying in. We, as a people, see value in email and instant messaging and Facebook and all these other methods of connection.

They get tiring, but we’re adjusting. This might be who we are. Data collection might empower us to create a better world. I am confident it has that potential and that there are good people out there who will accomplish it if we give them the time and freedom and additional means to do so.

We might also get overwhelmed and react. We might destroy ourselves suddenly.

I don’t think it’s the nicest place to be, but it could be a lot worse.

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