Pandoras Box




With every new generation of evolving technology, the “establishment” raises alarms of the fall of mankind.  Perhaps in no greater regard is the loss of personal privacy and self-determination that is found in our on-line lives.

As we stride thru our lives online, we naively believe we are in control of what we read and how we react to such.  However, it has become increasingly shocking as to how little we know about how we can be manipulated by the data “bread-crumbs” we leave in our wake.

It may sound like a scene pulled from the science fiction movie “ The Minority Report” where a person’s actions can be predicted with extreme precision to warrant their arrest for actions not yet taken.   Yet the technology exists TODAY, to determine in high 90’s percentile who you will vote for, or your next big purchase.  We can now predict how likely you are to become pregnant in the next year or develop a serious mental illness.  Think of the “Human resources” concerns when hiring new personnel if we are aware of these possibilities prior to hiring!


We are now upon the dawn of a new age where we can predict with high certainty (>90%) if you are likely to get a DUI, divorced, commit a serious crime or engage in activities that a current political party may deem dangerous.

With every new data point in your life, we can build a model of the likelihood of your future actions by looking at those people who have already committed those actions and what data points they share with you in the run up to the action in question.   Now combine these models with the learning machines/Artificial intelligence of today’s supercomputers who can track and model a MILLION such data points in your life in a tenth of a second.

“Free will” is now just a mathematical model, and you are but a pawn in the game.  Even if you are wholly offline, your mere presence on a street corner is recorded by every camera you pass.  Your purchases are tracked by your debit card, and your preferences in every regard are noted by every company that sells you anything.  Think of your grocery store buyer’s card for discounts.  Ever notice how you get coupons for all the things you have already purchased?

Imagine if you will, we build a predictive model of people who commit the crime of DUI driving and we are able to market to them BEFORE the deed that they will need to have a good lawyer by their side.

Or…. that this same data can be sold to MADD mothers so they can predict that next Friday night you will go to the Pub at the corner and leave at midnight to drive home drunk.  With this predictive model, MADD mothers could alert the police to this as it is happening when you pay up your tab with your credit/debit card.  They simply wait for you a few hundred feet down the road for your car.  Poof! ,,,instant Probable cause!

Imagine the marketing opportunities for the legal community!

This can be done for almost every area of the law from Divorce, Wills, Medical Malpractice, Personal injury, Criminal actions, to the simple civil problems leading to bankruptcy.  No area of our lives will ever be the same.

And this is happening right now!

When you are ready for a massive reality check, watch this TED talk:

(or watch the TEDtalks by Zeynep Tufekci)


For those who can see into the future of such matters and the abuses it can propagate, simply be aware that all of these fears are already the mainstay discussion of some seriously smart people at DARPA, and a whole host of Alpha-bit agencies for the federal government.  The dystopian future of George Orwell’s 1984 is upon us.

And it should scare everyone.

Just remember that within every Crisis there is both danger and opportunity.


Post note:  upon reading this post in the draft phase, it was strongly suggested by many people that exposing this problem so publicly, that it would lead to a multitude of bad results to the author.    Fortunately, the author is not the loudest, nor first voice in this concern, but certainly raises an interesting question of how we regulate ourselves when we encounter such issues in society.  Please remember the adage of not killing the messenger!

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