A Colby Community Web Site

Author: M. Darling

How Big Data is Beginning to Control our Lives- Final Paper

James Darling

STS Final Paper

Final Draft

Professor Fleming

May 18th, 2018

                                                               How Big Data is Beginning to Control our Lives

               What if there was a way to track a person’s internet searches, online purchases, facebook profiles, relationships etc. all by the collection of data? Well, that is completely possible, with the credit going towards big data. Big data is essentially the gathering of large sums of data points which then helps in analyzing just about everything a person searches or clicks on the internet. The way our society has used and is advancing in using big data has skyrocketed. Some common uses are in enhancing products, analyzing human tendencies and behavior, and looking for patterns and correlations in people’s data. While big data provides so much good for many companies, it also tests our privacy of something so simple as searching for something on Google. The first person to expose those people, more specifically the government and law enforcement, was Edward Snowden in 2013. Snowden, working for the NSA, realized the wrong in what they were doing which led him to releasing a high number of classified documents about the dark side of big data (Biography.com). That leads to the discussion of the 4th amendment and how, mainly, our countries law enforcement are finding loopholes in this constitutional amendment to further break into our citizens’ private matters, and big data does not exactly help that (Joh). While law enforcement may use data to further find out more on criminals, almost every big player in the online industry, whether it be social media or specific product purchasing, is using our private searches to find out more about us. A common person may think that if they are searching things online in the comfort of their own home that no one is watching, but it quite the contrary. While these companies most likely are not sitting on the other side of the screen tracking your every search, your data is still there and they can find it. It may be hard to believe that friendly names such as Google or Facebook are tracking us, much less using our data for their benefit, but they are, that is how they survive. In fact, most companies will tell you quite clearly if you scroll through there privacy policy, which many, including myself, tend not to do. In a portion of Facebook’s privacy policy they describe what they obtain from their users, “We collect the content and other information you provide when you use our Services, including when you sign up for an account, create or share, and message or communicate with others. This can include information in or about the content you provide, such as the location of a photo or the date a file was created.” (Facebook: Data Policy). The amount of data these companies are taking in is enormous and only increasing, and just because they make it seem friendly or inviting in their privacy policy, we do not know what goes on inside of these companies. The average american spends about 168 hours a week looking at their technological devices (Howard), because of this there is a plethora of data out in the world that is being used by companies, industries, and the government to further enhance our society, although their constant surveillance could be a risk of breaching our rights to privacy. Continue reading

Designer Babies: Do the Positives Outweigh the Negatives?

The constant strive for perfection is an everlasting struggle for our human race. The most important part in improvement and for the future of the human race, is our offspring. Designer babies is not a completely new idea, though it is an idea that has come closer to reality for our society. It is through the use of Crispr genes that allow for the creation of these ‘designer babies’.  New England Biolabs tells us the use of these Crispr genes are “essential in adaptive immunity in select bacteria and archaea, enabling the organisms to respond to and eliminate invading genetic material” (New England Biolabs). Essentially we are putting in genes to correct all the inferior material, therefore designing the baby. The use of crispr genes has already been put to use, as Kathy Niakan from the Francis Crick Institute has been granted allowance to use crispr genes by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (The Guardian). Niakan’s hopes are to pick out any issues earlier in the pregnancy process. As we can see, the path ahead for the correction of embryos, although optimistic, looks somewhat successful. Continue reading

Technology and Society

         I have always wondered about the generation that has come before us and what they did before this age of technology. Our generation is so reliant on it that we look at screens and devices all day, that is just how the world is now. Although, as a generation, we have lacked in taking in some of the skills from our previous one. We look at dating, business, and normal communication and it is all now through apps and texting etc. When all those things were not around everyone had to do something that we now all fear, to talk. That is where society comes into play and why it is paired with technology in our course. Instead of society controlling the technology we have almost found a way for the technology to control us. Although when we speak on things affecting a ‘society’, what exactly do we mean by that? What or who defines society?

         I’d like to break up the definition of the word society. Merriam-Webster gives it to us as, “an enduring and cooperating social group whose members have developed organized patterns of relationships through interaction with one another” (Merriam Webster). The definition begins by telling us that a society, something we all claim to be apart of, contains members whom collaborate and sustain. What they are undergoing is simply “up to them” but they must cooperate in the group. Continuing on, a society has made up relationships and connections that are very structured and well designed. They do so in making this by connecting with one another. The whole point of breaking that definition into pieces is because the given meaning behind a word we all use too loosely, sounds like something made up, basically fake. Something that contains patterns and setups, like technology. This definition more closely represents society today more than it did for the generation before us. The exact definition and its wording all sound like we could be data in a computer. The only thing that does not represent that is “through interaction with one another” which is something I have mentioned we have also lost, unless it’s through some sort of device. This very present and relevant definition of the word shows that we, and the societes we group ourselves into, have turned into the machine.

            How does technology affect groups this heavily? Well, first of all, the things we have made are made to make simple tasks easier. Instead of us all having different great qualities or skills, we use technology instead. Therefore no being has anything to contribute, therefore not actually being a real society. Instead, all of those electronics and gadgets contain the skills we once had, so in a way they are forming and becoming more of a society than we are. We musn’t rely on computers and smart electronics for everything or we lose everything. We do not want to become inferior to technology, if so we lose society.

Works Cited:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/society

Will AI take over our Jobs?

Since the beginning of robots or AI (artificial intelligence), there has always been a worry of them having a mind of their own and taking over human life. Well, not quite that bad but robots may be taking over a key component to our lives, work. Not just manual labor either, AI is constantly growing and getting stronger. Of course the whole point in creating such technologies was to make our lives easier, but now there is a worry that these time-saving technologies could and have developed enough that they could take millions of jobs. A man by the name of Kai-Fu Lee who is a massive techy in China is also the founder of a venture capitalist firm called Sinovation, was interviewed by CNBC (CNBC). In the interview we see it obvious that Kai-Fu Lee is a massive believer in the fact that AI will confiscate many jobs, “These are things that are superhuman, and we think this will be in every industry, will probably replace 50 percent of human jobs,” (CNBC). Lee believes this new age of artificial intelligence will be a huge impact on all of human life. In my opinion, I don’t believe we should be giving away our jobs to AI, and I do not believe 50% of humans out of jobs is beneficial for a working society, although that is not how Kai-Fu Lee feels. Later on in his previous quote he continues his stance, “[AI will] create a huge amount of wealth for mankind and wipe out poverty,” (CNBC). Now, I am sure that his argument would be much stronger than my own and most definitely has more ethos, though my main point of confusion in all of this is are people still remembering we are human. If we let AI take us too far we become the machine. Continue reading

Big Data is Everywhere

Topic:

How big data has changed the way we live our everyday lives

 

Critical Questions:

 

Who are the people taking in and analyzing this data? And what are they doing with it?

 

Is the collecting of big data from big industries a breach on our privacy?

 

How have companies utilized big data from their customers to format the overall production of their products?

 

Is government surveillance of our data against our privacy rights? Continue reading

Culture Shapes Who We Are

Culture, “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group;  also  : the characteristic features of everyday existence (such as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time(Merriam Webster). The word culture is a one that represents so many different things and people. Culture is how we separate people, groups, and beliefs. Culture is what is forming around you, and is forming you into the person you are. How we grow up and experience life, a large portion of the time, is based on where you are born. Now it may not pertain to a wide spectrum of locations, but in my own personal experience the differences in growing up in a city vs. the suburbs most certainly played a major role in shaping who I am. Growing up, living in a major city, it is clear there is a completely different experience and brace of culture between the two. One may be better or worse than the other, or they may not be, but the culture development of the two are different, and it is evident in analyzing the two. Continue reading

Women and Equal Pay

“Today, on average, a woman earns 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, and women’s median annual earnings are $10,800 less than men’s” (Business Insider).  In the most progressive age of any society in the earth’s long life, there seems to be something left out. Whether we are men, women, or identify as anything else, we are all people, this is not how we treat our fellow human beings. Although there has been many advancements in blocking out the “traditional” and barbaric ways men have treated women in the past, there are definitely a few key issues that keep seeming to slip through the cracks. The fight for equal pay has been a long battle that still has been going on very silently, but why? This is not the early 20th and 19th century, companies need to realize they need to be looking for the best candidates for their jobs, not a women they can pay less, or even a less qualified man who receives more pay. The issue of pay gap goes even deeper than just men vs women, it goes into things like race, and that is where we see the real gap. Equal pay should not be fought for, it is right, there should be no separation between sex, race, or where you come from. Continue reading

The Monster Inside All of Us

While we live in the most technologically advanced society in the history of mankind, we tend to neglect the fact that we as people have developed true relationships with technology. While our generation can be labeled as the most technologically savvy and advanced, we are also branded as the age of people who cannot live without it. While it is obvious any generation in the world today cannot survive without things like smartphones and computers, our age group has almost taken it to a disgusting extent. Our generation must realize that our obsession with new creations has made a monster inside all of us which needs to be dealt with. The most difficult part about the fixations with technology is that it has almost become a social norm for us, which makes it that much harder to address. Continue reading

Why call it the Scientific Revolution?

In Steven Shapin’s “The Scientific Revolution”, the author leads off the book with a first sentence that makes one question the whole credibility of this work. He begins with “There was no such thing as a Scientific Revolution, and this is a book about it.” That first sentence really stuck with me throughout the reading. I began to question the truth of everything he was saying, almost as if all the scientific reporting he was writing about and wanted us to believe was untrue. I do not believe there was one Scientific Revolution, as our world continues to find new information and create new technology, we are continually revolutionizing the way we think about everything, and we rely on it. Continue reading

© 2023 ST112 A2018

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑