Living With Big Data
On the other hand, Men in power want to access the data streams and watch every detail of their citizens' behaviour. They employ armies of data scientists and technologists to uncover any clues about private behaviour. Not all of it is sinister, surely - most of it is designed to keep its citizens loyal consumers of democracy, just like chocolate marketers and trinket sellers of various kinds, dedicated to status quo. The problem that confronts the state is the same as what it does to us individually: Knowing more may obscure the meaning, the trends may hide real action, the data walls may make the state more distant and blind than it has been ever before.
This, in the end, is the bigger point of big data - it makes us all consumers now. The underlying vision, that everyone will follow a pattern, and the moral justification, that the state, its institutions and private corporations should know more to serve our material needs, weave an information society to make us consume more, to make us 'happy'. This also puts the act of being human in stark contrast, of defying the trends, of countering stereotypes, of marching on streets and caring for more than what we need to consume. The small conversations suddenly shed its usual boredom and give us relief; the familiar, the usual, the trivial become special, and the act of rediscovering love, respect and little pleasures reappear as authentically human, almost heroic. It represents a chance to regain our humanity, hidden within the vortex of the data stream, away from the prying eyes of our lords and masters, and in contrast with our own consuming selves.