Data trolls

What if the term "data troll" caught currency and captured public imagination?

The NSA would be a data troll, of course.

But, if and as it came to be believed that the government grossly under-exploits the wealth of data it collects, its trolling at the point of application might seem trivial compared to the uses to which players in the interactive advertising media complex (something Eisenhower did not foresee) put big data.

It's one thing to be surveilled; it's another to have your behavior tracked for the purpose of influencing your future behavior.

Big data in corporate hands could become the means to cycle through ever more effective ways to enforce compliance with ever more onerous commercial terms. Resistance is not futile; it's a breach of contract and grounds for denial of service. The Singularity achieved by sucking from each human all traces of personality.

Kellycol0906008Imagine if, back when the telephone was a more important means of communication than it is today, laws and norms had not trended toward a cultural expectation that phone calls might be private. Also suppose that software was applied to analyze the content of those calls (readers here are sophisticated enough to understand that "content" includes both what is said and where, when and how it is routed).

There would be "benefits" to such automated wiretapping, just as there are to mailtapping. You might be offered coupons for goods and services that are better tailored to your conversations. The price of goods sold to you via online stores might be optimized. Anything that might be done by analyzing the data inherent in your email, could be done with your phone calls equally well.

A person who grew up with different expectations for phone calls than for online communications, she or he might take to the term, "data troll."


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