Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Data is NOT that Sexy - Civilisation and Illusion of Freedom

Kaleidoscope is failing miserably to cope up with the rapid progress of policies in post 2014. He has failed to be present for his UID - Aadhar which he could eventually obtain as it was made mandatory. He failed to link his Aadhar with LPG and lost the little benefit he could get which soon will disappear. He has tried his online banking and even through his most trusted ATM kiosks to link his Aadhar with his bank account.

Kaleidoscope know even if he has to take a few days of leave it would be okay to continue at pace with the policy changes that runs parallel with dataism! Its not the loss of time-energy-money that makes Kaleidoscope believe that Data is NOT that Sexy - it is rather quite deep rooted that this.

Data flow and vanishing qualitative dimensions: 

Kaleidoscope believes that he is a serious researcher and hence, he is expected to be fond of data. Wouldn't it be wonderful to work on food-habit of people by clicking your mouse once they make Aadhar mandatory to buy daily groceries and vegetables! Yes, it would be - for some, perhaps for many! But how about going to different places, actually tasting and smelling them, actually feeling them - getting people's lived experiences of interaction with food and then write something qualitativde? 

Dataism doesn't want you to do that. Dataism doesn't want you to go for consciousness and subjectivity that has so long continued to make Kaleidoscope's species human! 

No, this is only one reason for which Kaleidoscope finds Data is NOT that Sexy!

What dataism says?

Dataism says that universe consists of data flows and value of any phenomenon or entity is determined by its contribution to data processing (Kelly 2010, Hidalgo 2015). Think about Darwinian discoveries in his series of wonderfully written "descent of man" (Kaleidoscope started translating them but failed in the midway) and think about the invention of computers as data processing machine. It was not a problem when computers could tell in a moment the number of words that my article has so that I can quickly reply to the editor of the journal. It was okay when our bed-partner laptop and tablets could easily say algorithms of chemistry! Yes, it was sexy, but it is not sexy any more when it can calculate and predict the behavioural algorithms of Kaleidoscope's species. 

The problem is it strives for the concentration of immense power to the owner of the means of data sources and analytics. 

How do we contribute? 

Perhaps Kaleidoscope's species is already into one of the major revolutions after the farming/neolitic, urban/writing, industrial/scientific. Yes, data processing revolution. Today one can process data of a lakh people within a moment and can better understand a thing or two and better predict behaviours than what he could do or can do even within families  - in face-to-face interaction. When Kaleidoscope's species goes through a number of behaviour patterns including:

Selfie mania

Keeping the Location tracker on
Reviewing restaurants or places 

through a popular mechanism of Record-Upload-Share the entire species is allowing superpowers to access data, to govern and to shape the species' choices more actively than ever before.

These are the things Kaleidoscope's species wishes to share the rest which they do not want to share are taken through UID-Aadhar. 

Remember terminator III dialogue

The dataism wont go beyond functionalist attitude. Wish Kaleidoscope's readers remember this sequence from the movie terminator III.

[John is holding a gun to his head]
Terminator: You cannot self-terminate.
John Connor: No, you can't. I can do anything I want. I'm a human being, not some god-damn robot.
Terminator: [correcting him] Cybernetic organism.
John Connor: Whatever! Either we go, and save her Dad, or so much for the Great John Conner. Because your future, my destiny, I want no part in it, I never did.
Terminator: Based on your pupil dilation, skin temperature, and motor functions, I calculate an 83% probability that you will not pull the trigger.

Now think about the whole future we are dealing with such functional interpretation of data processed through every part of our behaviour? Does it sound Sexy?

The future with freedom struggle looks gloomy:

Science is going to be an all-encompassing sphere seeing and making us behaving as data processor and manufactured behaviours

Algorithms may soon know us better than we know ourselves. Thus Kaleidoscope's blood sugar level might make him unable to buy liquors even if he has the money and will!

...and yes such quantative and functional way of life is definitely not sexy!

See if you like:
Kelly, Kevin (2010) What Technology Wants. New York: Viking
Hidalgo, Cesar (2015) Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economics. New York: Basic Books

Image credit: http://download-wallpaper.net/content/top-hdq-live-terminator.html


  1. Do not forget to link your Aadhar and phone number Kaleidoscope, otherwise you are going to lose access to internet soon!