(Six-minute read)  Before life becomes electrical pulses with the arrival of quantum computers that will analyze big data in real-time the world needs to ensure that all data collection and its uses are totally transparent.   

Since we constantly leave data in our wake, even casual technology users have no problem finding two points through which to draw a line.

We all know Big Data is well on its way to transforming the art of marketing into science and currently, the world that we live in becoming more and more ruled by data.

One of the more recent frightening things is seeing Amazon algorithms that could figure out if a woman were pregnant or if a man were gay.

If this sort of information is collected and used in future algorithms, the idea that programs, apps, or services could infer psychological data based on tests that have no psychological rigor is not just dangerous but against what is left of human rights.

    That’s the sort of stuff where I feel like we need to be very conscious and cautious.  The data we’re collecting and what data we’re sharing are vital because it is really on the proliferation of devices and social media in ways that go far beyond what appears to be on its face.  To rule all aspects of life.

Online data is more than just a collection of ones and zeros, every piece of data a company records can be cross-referenced against other databases.

This is not hypothetical or scientist fiction use of data but rather a cultural change in the way we work, play, and communicate with each other.

The data revolution has only just started and the changes are substantial.

  Take the Chinese Government’s recent introduction of a social credit system that relies on thousands of data inputs, including frivolous spending, or even playing too many video games.

Or The South Korean app that tracked the locations of all new visitors to the country, while registration was necessary for facilities such as gyms, restaurants, and malls, and people who broke quarantine were asked to wear a location-tracking bracelet.

You might think that these examples are in countries that do not operate as open democratic countries but ask yourself where are all the track and trace data due to covid going to end up.

Where are we today when it comes to data collection? 

What are the biggest threats to our personal rights and freedoms in the age of technology?

There’s little doubt that data holds huge value in the fight against COVID-19 and the return to some resemblance of normality for citizens. That doesn’t, however, give collectors of public data the permission to use it as they please. 

Contact tracing solutions are one of the primary ways in which public data has been collected over the course of the pandemic.

However COVID-19-related data should commit to only using the data for purposes that contribute to fighting the pandemic. This citizen data should be deleted as soon as it loses its relevance.  This is not happing.  Rather its collection is intensifying with the introduction of the Covid passport.

Contact-tracing apps have been portrayed as anonymized, deletable, and non-violating of existing privacy laws. However, the jury is still out on that.

For example, data on who contracted the virus in certain neighborhoods and which locations acted as epicenters might contribute to prejudices forming about those areas.

There’s no question that the public data accessible through contact tracing is of extreme value to government bodies that seek to increase surveillance on their citizens.

In addition to contact tracing apps, significant amounts of medical data are also being gathered, stored, and shared by hospitals and system providers with mandatory testing and temperature monitoring to ensure workplace safety.

All of these data collection practice calls into question how this data is being stored and used. When it comes to employer access to data, there are already issues forming here.

If employers have access to employees’ or potential employees’ health data, they could use it against them and allow citizens’ health history to impact their employment opportunities.

We are well on the way to what I call – The unregulated invasivity spectrum.

As this totally unregulated technology continues to evolve our personal and professional lives will be affected significantly.

There are some serious debates about the acceptable use of data.

For example, when is it OK to collect data or metadata (which traces the patterns of the information gathered) about the citizens of a country?  

Organizations managing citizen data must be made under the law to open their processes for third-party review to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

What is acceptable?

With the Internet of Things growing at a staggering rate and artificial intelligence experiencing a renaissance, it’s little wonder that Big Data is taking center stage.

When combined with artificial intelligence, Big Data has proven itself a powerful tool in the fight against cybercrime, and collaboration and data-sharing have the potential to make networks far more difficult to compromise.

How do you challenge an algorithm and what’s the process for fixing the error?

The Information Age is still not in full effect, however, our world is increasingly reliant on computer technology which is evolving along the way.

Instead of having to rely on surveys and manually tracking how people move throughout an area, cities can instead rely on sensor-derived data, providing far greater resolution and a pool of data to draw from orders of magnitude larger than ever before available.

Government officials can better develop programs to encourage more efficient consumption through taxes and financial incentives, and Big Data is invaluable for informing these programs.

By relying on machine learning and other artificial intelligence tools, powerful computer systems using sophisticated algorithms can seek out signals that would be lost in the noise using more traditional statistical tools.

The ever-increasing flow of new data has made it nearly impossible for doctors and even large medical organizations to make sense of what the best and latest information is saying.

Computer-based help systems are coming, and Big Data has the potential to make them even better than human-run systems only if they are totally transparent if not our vote is worthless, and democracy as we know it is going to be dead in the water before we become Green.  This is frightening.

We must define acceptable use of data and find ways to safeguard our personal information. In doing so, we must be careful that we don’t cut off the innovation and the opportunity for data to improve lives for those who need it most.

Regardless of how advanced technology gets, the need for human insights cannot be removed from the equation.

The online landscape is turning from a playground into a battlefield as to how to handle the complexity of Information with Technology becoming the be-all and end-all.

To put it simply at the end of the whole process humans are needed to make choices about data point combinations. 

What we need to understand is what Alfred Adler said,

” What man needs most is to feel secure in his self-esteem. Man is not just a blind glob of idling protoplasm, but a creature with a name who lives in a world of symbols and dreams and not merely matter. His sense of self-worth is constituted symbolically, his cherished narcissism feeds on symbols, on an abstract idea of his own worth, an idea composed of sounds, words, and images, in the air, in the mind, on paper. And this means that man’s natural yearning for organismic activity, the pleasure of incorporation and expansion, can be feed limitlessly in the domain of symbols and so into immortality.”

The fact is that this is what society is and always has been, a symbolic action system, a structure of statuses and roles, customs, and rules for behavior. 

We are just becoming conscious of what we are doing to the planet that we live on.

There is no douth with Climate change, future pandemics, mass migration, and energy that we are going to need big data to put things right as the population of the planet increases the demands that we place on it.   

But if we peel away the massive disguise that blocks repression over human techniques for earning glory we arrive at the most pressing question of all the main problems of human life.  Self-esteem.

If Big Data strips away self-esteem by removing decision-making and motivation we will become worthless products of consumption.    

Remember the big tech mantra ” If the product is free then you are the product “

All human comments are appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.