We are increasingly incorporating electronics into our lives, particularly in the field of mobile devices. From retail shopping to social networking, we are immersed in electronic, virtual worlds, clicking away without any in-depth thought.
It rarely occurs to people that they are in fact leaving a digital trail and that simply clearing your history folder is only done to please the eye.
It was recently reported that Google has been secretly collecting data on unsuspecting civilian targets. But how? By incorporating snooping technology into their vehicles driven around every road, across a number of countries, to build the Google Earth function.
It is reported that around 25% of the UK population does not have a locked home Wi-Fi network making them easy targets for this collection of data. And it really is as simple as that.
Technology is becoming ever more powerful, with sleeker interfaces and increasingly intelligent self-learning algorithms. The question is whether computers are getting closer to human intelligence, being able to make calculated judgments, understand concepts and essentially process our thoughts.
The answer, of course, is yes. It is widely reported that computers more powerful than the human brain will be developed by 2015.
When browsing through a retailer’s website, users engage far more intimately with the technology, leaving themselves wide open to data collection by these intelligent machines lurking in the background. Social media, email, text, audio, video, and webpages are all documented, data also termed as human information or unstructured data.
This information goldmine in some cases isn’t actually a bad thing. The retailer may use the combination of purchasing habits, data trails, and social media integration to promote a more targeted product line the next time you’re on, improving the customer experience whilst helping them increase revenue.
Unsurprisingly, this source of very valuable information is hugely exciting for CEOs of organizations both big and small. To spot the “unknown unknowns”, particularly during these times of great economic uncertainty, is regarded as a “superpower”, helping them to become far more productive, and efficient and ultimately stay ahead of their competition.
The point is that these organizations are exposed to this data right now, and have been for a long period of time. But harnessing the data has always been a limitation, due to the traditional database setup.
Humans, in general, are predictable beings; it is what some illusionists play on to perform their trickery. And it seems it is this predictability that will be played on by intelligent machines to eventually control our output. But the question arises; could a more predictable world be a less volatile and safer world? Only time will tell.