Three words that is in everything and everywhere. The very essence of an object, be it physical or digital is encompassed within the realms of these 3 words. However, there is such distinction amongst the words that we often do not relate to them as the one single entity or even closely linked to each other. Today, we’ll try to find out if that’s true.
A most widely generic definition can be:
Any piece of information, however small or intricate, vague or clear, story or not, if given a proper structure and category that be meaningful in one way or other to oneself, can be termed as data.
So, in a way any piece of information can be termed as data. Interesting! I never knew that me, eating an apple instead of banana can be a meaningful piece of information to be classified as data. But it actually is. To the right person, in the right hands, any piece of information that they can monetise on is actually data. How, do you ask? Well, if an apple selling store knew about this, they would know that I prefer apple over banana and they would then try to sell more apples or other product of apples, perhaps Apple Juice or something. On the contrary if a banana store came around it, they would probably ask me what’s wrong and try to fix it so as to not lose a potential customer.
Of course, for as small a data set as a single person, nobody would bother. But say that data isn’t just of mine. It’s of thousands of people in the same neighbourhood. Then, it might catch their eye and they would react. Cause then they would need this data to get their business running. And they would be willing to pay to get such data. Maybe pay 1% of their rest 99% in profit from targeted marketing and sales. Believe me, it is already a thing. Which links to my next point: Currency.
Who doesn’t know what currency is? But do we really understand it? We take a dollar or rupee bill, and think it holds some value when actually, it doesn’t. If it’s unregistered, somewhere or other it’s not a legal form of currency note. Some bank or institution has to maintain a clear ledger of data as to where that particular note went through to reach your hands. If they do, that note is valid. Otherwise, it becomes something we term as black money and liable to get yourself a heavy charge for carrying illegal money. But, banking ledgers being controlled at a particular location or set defined books became easy to access or manipulate. One could copy all of the books and in process, insert their data in between the rest, which could eventually make their money legal. Eventually, the banks got smarter. They moved from books to storage devices and softwares. But now, it became even easier to randomly insert data. And copy data into new data. Now, the struggle only remained as a tug of war between who knew more technology to get ahead of the other.
Technology really just means the science of craft. But we’ve taken it so closely to gadgets, that for us, technology merely means catching a Pokemon with a ball by swiping up, in our phone. Well, technically, it ain’t wrong. Just incomplete. We live in a world surrounded by gadgets and apps. Alexa, Uber, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Google Home, even cars now, Tesla. How can the meaning not change. Technological advancements has been tremendous in the last few years. Technology has influenced every part of our lives. From managing data to transferring currency. We don’t go to the banks anymore to fill out a form and transfer money. We just use Paypal or Paytm. Excel sheets have paved ways to databases, and then distributed databases to enhance the further security and accessibility of data. Yes, the social websites that we visit to do give us a lot of exposure. But they also clearly sell out your data to potential buyers. Data encourages currency. But technology really is the one that supports it. But the more important question is, do you really care? If you did, you would lived a monk life so far. But you don’t. You want people to show you ads of that camera, that you viewed a hundred times but can’t afford. If there’s ever an offer or better price somewhere else or newer bran, you’ll come to know about it. Isn’t that great? Of course it is. You may cower that you might not want to know about some other related item which even might get inappropriate sometime and I totally agree to it. But how will the systems learn and adapt to your needs and requirements if they are fed in with huge amounts of data on the same. Are they really breaching our privacy? Do we really need to shut them down. After-all, it’s our inability to read through the lengthy agreements of usage. We are in so hurry to get on-board the show, that we are ready to give it all up.
Being said that, obviously we would want a control over own data. Not all of us want to know the nearest restaurant or asked to check-in every time we are near one. And I totally am on the same page with that as well. We must have control over our data. But at the same time be aware of the advantages that data can bring to us. Technology as helped us use our data in the form of currency today. There are various data marketplaces even, where companies buy and sell data legally. You can also utilise such marketplaces to monetise your data, the way you would want it to be used.
Put up your thoughts as to what you think the world should move on to the next phase of data privacy and sharing. Is it ok to come up on WikiLeaks and not on google or do we really want the control and are willing to spend time and give up the online social life to get free of that.