What’s Being Done With Your Data?

According to the article posted  by Mark Gollom [CBC News] – What’s being done with your data: Experts ask, shouldn’t someone get this under control? – Facebook, Google and Amazon have a complete monopoly on records of what interests you.
Revelations that U.K.-based Cambridge Analytica apparently used data from more than 50 million Facebook accounts to try to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election in favour of Donald Trump have sparked criticism over how the giant social networking company protects its users’ data”.
According to computational social scientist Sandra Matz (an assistant professor of management at Columbia Business School) the bigger issues that should be addressed is what does it mean that those companies have that data; and, is the data that those companies hold sufficiently protected?
It appears that the current controversy arose when a psychological-profiling application for use within Facebook (created by researcher Aleksandr Kogan) was used by the data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica to obtain information about millions of Facebook users and friends (who never downloaded the app or explicitly gave consent for their data to be used to try and influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
In the wake of these revelations, now some regulators and politicians are considering whether tougher regulations need to be put into place to protect users. And, companies like Facebook have taken steps to allow users to adjust their privacy settings. However, Social scientist Matz has said, “I think it’s great if they have more control, but I think people simply don’t care enough. They probably don’t really know how much is possible and what their data is being used for.”
It appears that the current controversy arose when a psychological-profiling application for use within Facebook (created by researcher Aleksandr Kogan) was used by the data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica to obtain information about millions of Facebook users and friends (who never downloaded the app or explicitly gave consent for their data to be used to try and influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
In the wake of these revelations, now some regulators and politicians are considering whether tougher regulations need to be put into place to protect users. And, companies like Facebook have taken steps to allow users to adjust their privacy settings. However, Social scientist Matz has said, “I think it’s great if they have more control, but I think people simply don’t care enough. They probably don’t really know how much is possible and what their data is being used for.”
Meanwhile back in 2007, Helen A.S. Popkin – writing for MSNBC in an article titled Twitter Nation: Nobody Cares What You’re Doing may have captured the real reason why social media giants like Facebook is getting away with doing as they like with the data that its volunteer users provide willingly.
She asks, “Why do we think we’re so important that we believe other people want to know about what we’re having for lunch, how bored we are at work or the state of inebriation we happen to be at this very moment in time? How did society get to the point that we are constantly improving technology so that this non-news can reach others even faster than a cell phone, a text message, a blog, our Facebook profiles?”
And, she continues, “There’s no blaming Generation Y for that. Blame their parents, those touchy-feely post boomers who piled on the praise and positive reinforcement, lest they bruise little Dylan or Madison’s budding self esteem. It’s Mom and Dad who awarded gold stars and iMacs every time their precious progeny engaged in the most mundane of child development. Why should they or the rest of us gape in horror at the next generation posting itself naked on the Internet (both literally and metaphorically). Twitter is just the latest development in the biggest generation gap since rock n’ roll invented teenagers”.
But someone does care what you’re doing online; and they’re amassing fortunes mining the data being provided to them by their pavlovian subjects.

Into The Future

Relax: self-driving cars won’t kill you (and they’re not really self-driving, yet)

The Tesla Autopilot crash fatality in May points to how safe, not unsafe, self-driving cars can be in the future, and how driver assistance features today are at preventing crashes by warning or intervening. The very real danger is that knuckleheads today are confusing individual driver assist features for an integrated system that allows your attention to drift safely for extended periods of time.


Self-driving cars have a major obstacle – the human brain

Experts say the development of self-driving cars over the coming decade depends on an unreliable assumption by many automakers: that the humans in them will be ready to step in and take control if the car’s systems fail.

Instead, experience with automation in other modes of transportation like aviation and rail suggests that the strategy will lead to more deaths like that of a Florida Tesla driver in May.

Decades of research shows that people have a difficult time keeping their minds on boring tasks like monitoring systems that rarely fail and hardly ever require them to take action. The human brain continually seeks stimulation. If the mind isn’t engaged, it will wander until it finds something more interesting to think about. The more reliable the system, the more likely it is that attention will wane.


Is the IT revolution more revolutionary than past revolutions? — Tech and Society

Texting, instant internet searches, and large databases available for public consumption. All of these things have made huge impacts on how we communicate with others and how we carry ourselves through our daily lives, but how “transformative” has it really been? I would like to argue that the IT revolution is not as transformative as past revolutions. […]

via Is the IT revolution more revolutionary than past revolutions? — Tech and Society

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