A couple of years ago it seemed to be surprising: Schools warned us that the pictures we are uploading can’t really be deleted and will be “out” there online for forever. Today it already seems to be an old topic to us. Asking people about if they know that data about our preferences and identity are collected with every smartphone-companied step we take or every klick we do, they just seem to have accepted it as a necessary thing. However, data collection has apparently reached a new level: According to a study of the University of Cambridge you can predict e.g. person’s sexual orientation, political leanings, religion, intelligence, emotional stability, if they abuse drugs or alcohol by having a look Facebook likes. (Kosinski et. al., 2013)
And in fact, Kevin Kelly author from “What technology wants” (2012) and editor or “Wired” argues, that what the internet wants is to collect and to copy. “What the Internet does is track, just like what the Internet does is to copy, and you can’t stop copying. You have to go with the copies flowing, and I think the same thing about this technology. It’s suggesting that it wants to monitor, it wants to track, and that you really can’t stop the tracking. “ (Kelly in Brockman, 2014) Talking about the lack of power to stop this trends he posts that we should try to establish an information symmetry instead of the asymmetric. That basically means that corporates should make transparent what they collect from us. Is it the right age? The right “like”?
However being a positivist about the internet Kevin Kelly explains that technologies add on. They do not develop from one invention to each other, they are always giving us new possibilities and choices.
Moreover, I guess, that you can only operate in a system by using its communication (for more theoretical background e.g. Luhman on theory of systems). That’s why Kevin Kelly’s way to look as technology as something included in human being and not separate is great. He concludes, that “We can’t regulate technology by prohibiting it. We have to only regulate it by use. We have to use things in order to steer them or rearrange them or reassign them.” (Kelly in Brockman, 2014) With his empathic way to look at the developments intersecting to the humans developments, he allows us to operate within this system.
People don’t want to give up the new options they have gained or live in the past. (Kelly, 2010)Even if those thoughts seem to be positive, we can’t predict where this data collecting and sharing is leading us to. Is there an end or what is the new beginning?
Brockman, J. (2014). The Technium. A conversation with Kevin Kelly. Retrieved from https://edge.org/conversation/kevin_kelly-the-technium
Kelly, K.. (2010). What technology wants. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D., & Graepel, T. (2013). Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 5802-5805.