Dataland, or the only hole above the ground

When the magazine for CIOs is questioning big data, something’s in the wind. Michael Fitzgerald in Information Week — Why I Don’t Want to Live in Dataland:

In Dataland, we’re tracked 24/7. What we eat, when we sleep, the real-time state of our body and minds — all of it is monitored and available for analysis. When we walk from one room to another, the temperature changes to shift energy usage to the most efficient level possible. When we leave our homes, we are guided away from trouble spots. We receive only job or credit offers that will match our lifestyles. Utopia or dystopia? We may find out soon.

Most of Fitzgerald’s article is spent quoting Kate Crawford of Microsoft Research who has been getting the word out recently about the blindspots and downsides of big data.

Crawford’s points that while big data is represented as objective it’s actually deeply situated, highly discriminatory and strongly favours the status quo have strong parallels with Adam Greenfield’s argument in Against the Smart City (my review here).

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