The moral dilemma of Big Data
I started reading a quite interesting book (Fool’s Gold) on the economic meltdown that JP Morgan and other financial institutions triggered in the mid 90’s. The credit swap basically destroyed the world economy and left scars that still have repercussions. Not even corporate governance could regulate a grey area that was absolutely “invented and adapted” to a new scenery that only wanted to bring a new fixed income to the Bank. Everyone fell, even all those that came later into swap craze: Citigroup, UBS, Deutsche Bank, and the thundering herd at Merrill Lynch.
Even though I have only read about 20% of the book, I started thinking about data and a similar situation.
IBM’s Virginia Rometty wisely said in the 2014 letter to shareholders that:
“...data is becoming a new natural resource. It promises to be for the 21st century what steam power was for the 18th, electricity for the 19th and hydrocarbons for the 20th. This is what we mean by enterprises, institutions and our planet becoming smarter.”
Here the debate comes naturally: What will happen with all the data available now? How far privacy will go? How will be in charge of stopping companies when they want to mine petabytes of unstructured data? Now that Internet of things is collecting data on everything, now that iOS 8 will fully explode fitness and health, what will happen with brands, governments and other entities going through our data?
In my personal opinion, I believe data should be transparent. Regulations should be clearly traced when it comes to “sharing data” (if I signed to your mail database, then you should not sell my email to someone else’s) however, the rest should be “available”. I know, there has to be a paradigm shift, nobody wants to be found by someone we are trying to avoid, but at the same time, I feel we are going irrevocably into that direction.
If a smart burglar can sort out that your home is empty because you checked in somewhere else, then the fault its yours, because you shared and you decided to communicate everyone that you were out.
We really need to understand that we do not “own ourselves out there”, meaning that I can choose not to communicate anything, but unless you leave under a rock, then someone will tag you in a pic, someone will talk about you on her blog and so on. At the end of the day, we can not control the outflow of information related to us. Don’t believe me? Go ‘head, Google your name!
Well, its just the beginning.