In his overview of what’s happening with regards to data privacy and machine learning, Foreman depressingly provides two options as a response to the collection, aggregation, and analysis of our data. One of them is, as he argues, nothing more than a sugar pill. Consumers can either choose to complacently accept this inevitable, rampant stockpiling of information about themselves, or they can “be original” for a little while.
His two illusory, pessimistic options are actually just a single choice. But there is, at least, one other option for humanity, and that is to fight it. So, what is the decision we’re making right now? That decision is to be complacent with the current state of affairs, and to enjoy it’s tangible benefits.
The convenience of having the machine decide what we want is too great. The general tendency for humans is towards laziness. When Edward Snowden first unveiled the various activities being conducted by the US and other country governments, the initial reaction was ultimately divided. Many were cheering, or even just OK with such programs being in place. Others were in an outrage and disgusted. There are still some who feel just as strongly as they did the day the news reached their ears. But, as I’ve asked above, what has the public ultimately done about it? The answer: nothing much.
Even amid buzz that Google and Apple were complying with these programs behind the scenes (something I find unlikely), I’d be interested to see how many actually had a reactionary response to it. How many stopped using Facebook? Anyone deleted their Google account? Are you still using an iPhone? Did you encrypt your Android phone?
The point that I’ve been trying to make is that data privacy doesn’t really matter to (most of) us. I, ironically, found this comic while browsing Google+.
We’re not really complaining about our privacy on the Internet, nor are we concerned about who’s watching what we buy at Target. Saying that it’s “creepy” is not doing something about it. Sounds like inaction to me.