As we try to grapple with ever more data, control has been handed to an ever growing number of poorly regulated tech companies who fail to store, collect, or use this data appropriately. The classical computational answers are no longer viable, instead we need more social sciences, and a lot more ethics.
We have a problem. It’s one that has been building for some time, one that we have seen coming, but one that has grown beyond control or measure. We are entering the age of Peak Data. More data is being generated by more technologies than ever before. And more data is being used to drive the social conditions of our lives, in turn creating more data through feedback loops. The films we watch and the music we listen to is now decided by digital algorithms that throw up suggestions and recommendations. Our friendship networks are facilitated through digital platforms which shoe-horn us into categories and groups. Decisions about where infrastructure should be build, or bus routes placed, are based upon millions of data points collected as people travel around cities. Almost every part of our day interacts with digital tools, through the data we provide, and through the decisions made by tech companies and data driven projects that pertain to make our lives better.