Data and Social Media

About an year ago, I wanted to show my cousin a video I recently had uploaded on the YouTube, when I visited her. As I searched for it on the Google, I became a bit puzzled when Google couldn’t display the link to my video. Of course my video wasn’t like one of those great viral releases we get to see on the internet with massive popularity. It was just an ordinary coverage of my friend’s birthday party. Yet what left me confused was the fact that Google could display my video link when I search it from “my” laptop, but not from my cousin’s. WOW…

Google recognizes me through my device. Brilliant. Wait, how brilliant is that? Or whose brilliance are we talking about here? Mine or Google’s? When I thought about it carefully, I sensed that, Google understands me when I am recognised, but I simply don’t understand Google on the other hand. That made me look really dumb. I am not trying to imply what I mentioned is a problem. I am just collectively trying to figure out where is this leading us to. Is it going to empower us or enfeeble us? (Balkan, 2014) Balkan, in his video gave as a intriguing example of how Facebook knows that one would start a relationship even before the person himself knows. When a computer algorithm could compile such a piece information, of course we get excited. Now lets take an example of the film Minority Report (IMDB, 2002). I don’t know how many people think that the concept shown in the movie was brilliant. “Precrime” seriously? How about a similar real life event, the famous assassination of Hamas chief Mahmoud al-Mabhouh by the Mossads (Israeli Intelligence agency) in Dubai (Walker, 2010). How were the Mossads able to crack down on the victim’s database to find out about his future arms deal and take him out just hours before the intended event? Or how was the computer algorithm able to foresee the murder by the protagonist in the film?

Today, privacy is not about what we hide. It is about what we control to be shown (Balkan, 2014). Let’s imagine what would happen in our day to day lives when it is the business model of these social media giants to gather data in order to grow (Balkan, 2014). Not all of us are criminals. I believe, everyone has the rights to his or her own privacy. One might think that it is absolutely fine for your device to know you completely. But have we thought about the “organisation” that produces the device. A simple log in from your side, they own your information from now. “until the time of the end the knowledge shall increase” (Davis, 2011). This is an interesting bible phrase I came across. Though I am not a christian, I agree with the phrase to some extent. This phrase signifies that the increase in knowledge is the pathway leading to the end of an era. In our context, too much information of us into the hands of others will lead to mass destruction. It is indeed not simple to conceptualize what this really means or what would happen in our future. I feel it is necessary to first of all create an awareness of how our information is being gathered and processed from all forms of social media, to a wider range of people in the world, and wait for what the majority has got to say.

One of my friend suffered from cancer whom I had the opportunity to meet up quite recently. I couldn’t believe that I actually asked her how many days she has got left to live. She told me she doesn’t know and doesn’t even bother to know. “When you know the end of your life, your lifetime becomes a trauma. The mystery of what happens next, is the most fascinating part of life, this is the nature of humanity.”, this is what I heard from a person who was counting her days . I had no choice but to include her topic in this post. She actually made me realize something that changed the way I look at my life today.. On the whole, our data being accessed by a third party whom we don’t even know directly doesn’t sound too terrifying. But what if the things turn out to be different in the future? What if this phenomenon becomes a threat to humanity. I once again stress the fact that not many of us have the knowledge to foresee how our future is going to be, from this context. We are just left with an intuition of some mishap in the future which is better to be resolved at a much earlier stage. Let us make sure we protect humanity at all cost.

References

Davis, H. (2011) Mass Media and Bible Prophecy. Retrieved 24 October 2014, from http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/mass-media-and-bible-prophecy/

Aral Balkan. (2014, April 30). Free is a Lie. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldhHkVjLe7A#t=89

Walker, A, (2010) Why did Hamas chief Mahmoud al-Mabhouh go to Dubai?. Retrieved 24 October 2014, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8521942.stm

IMDB (n.d.). Minority Report. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181689/

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