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Terrifying and Exciting! The Power of Big Data

By Thinkibility

What if you could reimagine the global cooperation? What would it look like?

Terrifying and Exciting! The Power of Big Data

A child with green eyes close up

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Psychological profiling is big money! Especially is you use it to make a digital coup and create personalised political advertising.

By using big data it may be possible to change the way we vote. This approach may according to rumours already have been used to swing the EU-referendum in the UK and the US election. Articles written by Das Magazin suggested that this approach was used but the journalists relied too much on the claims by a company called Cambridge Analytica. The number crunching company may have exaggerated their own skills but the story shows us what companies are aiming towards. A glimpse into a dystopian future where online information from online sources such as Facebook is used to manipulate our views. Our behavior can easily become powerful tools.

So what is big data? Big Data means that everything we do, both on and offline, leaves digital traces. When we use our mobile phones our movements are stored, and every like we make on Facebook posts results in digital traces. Today, we have computers that have the capacity to store and to analyse these data. Who owns your data is an interesting question. And who can decide what your data can be used for?

Terrifying and Exciting! The Power of Big Data

Photo CyberHades

Of course, it is tempting to use the data and to manipulate it. Small changes in our feed and the message on adverts can help to change our views. Language can be changed and even small changes can influence us and make us change our minds. Thinking skills may even be more important when big data is used to manipulate us. It can also be used to control us and to determine who are loyal to the government, for example, in China where there are plans to introduce a citizen score that determines how loyal a person is.

Yet, there is also an illusion that political elections have previously been completely fair. The way information related to elections has been distributed in remote parts of a country have been different as compared to in big cities. Money has also been used to ensure that certain people have got noticed in media.Big data can also be used to make positive changes. The political systems have hardly changed in many Western countries and global organisations such as UN rely on assumptions about the way information can be accessed that are no longer relevant. How can the digital technique be used to make people participate and engage in decision making? A centralised idea of power somehow no longer seems like a great idea.
Terrifying and Exciting! The Power of Big Data

Earth our home concept. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

In Iceland, digital data was used to improve representative democracy. Crowdsourcing programme such as Citizens Foundation in Reykjavik has also been used to allow people to suggest and also rank ideas for improving the city. Connecting citizens to the City Hall is the motto and this is not a bad one.Jumping to ideas like Connecting people to the Global Government! Ideas like this are needed and they are also sought after in the Global Challenges Prize 2017 where the aim is to remodel global cooperation.

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