Join the Common Corps!

They’ve got cookies…and you are going to be assimilated anyway.

So, what good is sitting, all alone in your room? Go on and join the data fray, become part of the collective.

Consider, if you will, the Kit Kat Club its celebration of sexual fetishes of all stripes.

Or, if a more dystopic future is your choice, maybe a visit to the Milk Bar with Alex and his droogs.

Across the net tonight data is flowing in unimaginable numbers of bytes. From simple communications like text messages and email, to the buying and bartering of 80 million Anthem records. Others are working with data, writing stories about data. Still others are creating and running organizations to encourage the collection and use of more data, while other organizations are opposing them.

With good reason on both sides.

My friend Barmak and others talk about the fetishism of data (or big data) frequently in the context of education data. Even though I am a data guy, I see his point. Once upon a time, when I was much younger, we learned about being parsimonious or frugal in our datasets for research. Today that seems completely out the window. There is a lot we can learn from big data, and a lot we can learn from much smaller datasets that are less intrusive that pose less risk to those we are trying to help by using their data. I suspect most of the time we can learn more from the smaller datasets where we sit and think about what we are doing.

Of course, while I write this, I am also working on a projection model based on more than 20 years worth of data that will produce results I am confident will be wrong in 15 years. The question is just how wrong and so I struggle to minimize the wrongness. There will be something like five million moving parts (with agency and motives of their own) affected by forces that have changed dramatically over the last two decades and others that didn’t exist.

Oh well, love is an imaginary number and the eagle arrives daily, and I remain modern and unbound…at least to the fetish of big data. I have a lot of data to work with, but it does not, I think, rise to the level of “big.”

While reading a completely unrelated blog post about Dominion and Eminent Domain, as granted to private companies (allegedly operating in the public service) I got to wondering about this. Are forces in motion to allow private companies, to declare eminent domain as it relates to data? Is it that much of leap to believe that some corporation is trying to find a way to ensure access to all the information it doesn’t have about us to better target its advertising? Perhaps Kroger or Food Lion argue that they need access to our health records to help us make healthier grocery purchases. Certainly that would be considered in the public good and if a power utility is a public service company, how is a grocery not? Food is far more necessary to the individual than power delivery.

Btw, how can one not appreciate the phrase “Dominion and Eminent Domain?”

Be nice. It won't hurt either of us.

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