Saturday, August 10, 2019

Monetizing Like Minds - Section 01

...the pressure to monetize data at tech companies is ceaseless. Facebook didn’t grow from a website connecting college kids into a purveyor of user profiles and predilections worth $478 billion by walling off personal data.
Palantir Knows Everything About You - Bloomberg

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I’ve never liked Facebook. But my aversion wasn't prompted by particular concerns about privacy and data sales. It was the “feel” that repelled me. I’ll get to that in a bit. First some pertinent history.

Ways to circumvent digital privacy were being developed from the earliest days of the Internet. In 1999, Scott McNealy, then CEO of Sun Microsystems, was rebuked by his peers when he dared to admit that consumer privacy issues are a "red herring”. "You have zero privacy anyway," he told a group of reporters and analysts..."Get over it"

Data-enhanced marketing and advertising began stoking our consumption economy well before computers arrived. Edward Bernays, father of Public Relations (PR) and nephew of Sigmund Freud, codified the methodology in his book, Propaganda, in 1928.
In theory, every citizen makes up his mind on public questions and matters of private conduct. In practice, if all men had to study for themselves the abstruse economic, political, and ethical data involved in every question, they would find it impossible to come to a conclusion about anything. We have voluntarily agreed to let an invisible government sift the data and high-spot the outstanding issues so that our field of choice shall be narrowed to practical proportions.
As Bernays suggested, with only human effort available to aggregate and evaluate data, it was a tedious and often mistaken effort at best. But a few decades later, after successfully decrypting Germany’s Enigma machine in World War II, Alan Turing invented the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) which happened to bring Bernays’ data dilemma a critical step closer to resolution. Machines could "sift the data and high-spot the outstanding issues" for us. 

Then, on October 29, 1969, two advanced versions of these computational machines communicated with each other directly. This breakthrough led to the creation of the first computer network, called ARPANET. And as a result, our power to gather, sort, and analyze data rose exponentially. 

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Section Index<<<>>>Section 02