How Big Data is Engineering Your Life

05/21/201749 Comments
“I’ve got no strings
So I have fun
I’m not tied up to anyone
They’ve got strings
But you can see
There are no strings on me!”

Pinocchio is the story of a marionette that dreams of becoming a real boy. He wishes upon a star, proves himself brave, selfless and true, and a kind fairy grants him his heart’s one true desire.

When the history of the 21st century is written, it could very well be the story of real boys and girls who willingly become marionettes. They stare blankly into their smartphones, prove themselves cowardly, selfish and false, and a group of technocrats puppeteer them.

Allow me to illustrate: You are a white, middle class American woman in your late 20s. You are active on Facebook, where you have a lot of friends, but you spend most of your time there interacting with your sister, your boyfriend, and your BFFs from college. You watch a lot of ’90s teen dramas but specifically skip the episode of Felicity where she cuts her hair. You work at a dental office in a mid-rise commercial building and eat lunch every Thursday at the diner in the strip mall next door. You used to fly home for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year on United, but you recently switched to Southwest. You like ballroom dancing on weekends. Your last three purchases were a patchwork and quilting magazine, a 32-lb. bag of chicken-flavor puppy chow, and a silk tie (a present for your father’s birthday). You are agreeable, not very conscientious, and prone to worry.

Et voilà. Your specially-crafted toothpaste advertisement is served.

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