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Tag: Data

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

The Educational Divide Between Science and Literature

C.P. Snow’s The Two Cultures discusses the cultural divison between the field of science and the humanities. He begins with a historical assessment of the respective fields of study and their degree of influence throughout time. From there, he goes on to explain how science is the more applicable to our current society and that it will continue to gain prevalence in the future. As a liberal arts student I am predisposed to oppose this argument, however when I think about it honestly, I have to admit that the study of information, data, and analysis will proceed to play an increasingly relevant role in our daily lives.

I believe that in the coming decades, the fields of science and technology will continue to become a necessary element of our every day routines. The decline of hard-copy, handwritten material is a major indicator of this. With electronic substitutes for everything springing up everywhere we look, it is clear that a thorough understanding and acceptance of science is absolutely inevitable. Almost every position for current college graduates looking to enter the workforce requires a high level of comfort with a wide array of computer systems, data manipulation, and numerical analysis. I expect this trend to continue and accelerate along with the abundant increases in technology and science.

However, I do presume that while it is still quite a while down the road, the humanitarian studies will begin to adapt and become integrated with technological sciences. Areas like law, publishing, and literature in general will begin to become intertwined with new programs and systems and allow them to regain a prominent role in our society. Programs will arise in which certain logical and qualitative resources can be analyzed and produced. The advances in science and technology will allow certain decisions that were once determined by human logic, to be simulated by data analysts and scientists. Soon articles once crafted by humans to break news, stories, and provide outlook on current events will by synthesized by programs that are able to analyze the information and churn out literature for consumers.

This is not to say that the creative ability of humans will cease to remain relevant, I simply believe that in the near future many traditionally human crafts will be met by technological automation. Much like many fields have recently been forced to adapt and redefine their role in an era of internet and technology, the field of humanities will surely begin to do so. It is difficult to predict the way in which this pivot will result, but it is simply matter of time before the natural process of evolution causes this realm of intellect to remodel itself.

I fundamentally agree that a thorough understanding of literature and science is essential in order to develop a complete and well-rounded education. The current reign of technology in our generation may make it seem as though the former is becoming obsolete, but I expect that within our lifetime we will witness a return of liberal arts prominence.

The Dangerous Uncertainties of Technology

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a quintessential example of an experiment gone awry, an effort initiated with seemingly pure intentions but evolves into something with unintended and disastrous consequences. Frankenstein the monster becomes more than simply a reanimated “humanish” creature. His creation accidentally gave rise to issues of companionship, loneliness, and other human emotions that ultimately made him a true monster.

I believe that many of today’s modern marvels are riddled with similar unintended consequences. The primary example being the Amazon Echo. The daily news cycle is dominated with stories of Echo devices listening to their owners and then acting without any instruction. People with Echo devices find themselves receiving advertisements for products or services that they had only discussed in person with friends or family members. It seems as though the days of only having to worry about what one wrote or typed are long gone. The spoken word used to be the final frontier in terms of privacy, you could still speak your mind in private, but now the Amazon Echo is always listening, picking up on certain keywords, and creating customized advertisement strategies for you.

There is also the issue of the relationship between Echo data and the Intelligence authorities. Many people, myself included, view  them as conspiracy theories. However, if there is truly a connection between the two, then an invasion of privacy breach is certainly a real and present danger.

Customers who simply wanted a device that would record grocery lists and play music are suddenly facing unintended ramifications that they had no way of anticipating, much like Frankenstein’s monster. These people did not sign up for a product that listens to their every word, records and analyzes it. This is an area that I believe must be addressed by both private and public oversight entities.

Another example of technological overreach can be identified in the recording of search data on Google and Facebook. These tech giants have been recording the search data of individuals for years and have been able to compile advertisement and content preferences to suit each individual customer. This collection and manipulation of our personal preferences and information is changing the way that we shop and consume information. Lawmakers in Congress are finally beginning to investigate the ways in which Facebook and Google are handling our information, but I believe that this is just the “tip of the iceberg.” The Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election is the most evident example of data manipulation. Facebook’s advertising platform allowed hackers to infiltrate the “newsfeeds” of American citizens and feed them falsified news that ultimately impacted the results of our executive election.

As technology advances and takes an increasingly more important role in our daily lives it is vitally important that we take a more cautious approach toward our work. Inventions that collect, track, and analyze our data are a novel and groundbreaking concept, capable of revolutionizing the way we live and work. However, if unmonitored and unsupervised, we risk sacrificing our sacred right to privacy.

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