BIG DATA is coming!
For thousands of years, people believed that authority came from divine laws which were legitimized by religious mythologies. And then in the recent centuries it shifted from the divine to the human heart which was justified by the liberal story that dictates people to follow their hearts rather than the dictates of some priest or a religious organization. Now it is believed that we are already living in an era when authority is shifting from humans to algorithms due to the technological revolution that is establishing the order of big data algorithms.
We are now in the core of two major revolutions:
On the one hand, there is the info-technology revolution, for the fact that computer scientists are leading an upheaval in data-processing power.
On the other hand, there is the biotechnology revolution, since biologists are decrypting the human body mysteries, particularly the brain and the feelings.
The fusion of the InfoTech and Biotech revolutions will result in an unprecedented control of big data algorithms over the human free will. This is not sci-fi; It’s already taking place in medicine. Machines are capable of understanding our bodies better than we do, so major medical decisions are usually based on their calculations. Hence, machine learning is widely used in the diagnosis of cancer since it allows machines to train themselves to distinguish between malignant and benign tumor long before the patient can feel anything is wrong with him.
What is already beginning to take place in medicine is likely to take place in more other fields. Most people don’t know themselves very well. Imagine a micro sensor that we integrate inside your body or under your skin; this micro sensor has the capability to detect all biological processes inside your body including your neurons and hormones, and then converts them into digital information transmitted to some computer with enough computational power and biometric data, stored and then analyzed. These computers can hack all your desires, opinions and decisions even the smallest of them all. They will know you more than you know yourself.
In some countries, people will be under the obligation to obey the decisions of big data algorithms. Even in the freest societies, algorithms might gain authority because we will learn from experience to trust them on more and more issues, and will gradually lose our ability to make decisions for ourselves. Take Google as an example, we no longer search for information, instead we just google it. And we increasingly rely on it’s the answers it provides us, so our ability to search for information by ourselves diminishes.
some will say they will not be victims for these new revolutions, well is it even possible to escape them ? Have those people escaped internet revolution? don’t they own Gmail accounts, Facebook or twitter? At least did they escape the smartphone Era?
As authority shifts from humans to algorithms, we might no longer see the world as the playground of autonomous individuals struggling to make the right choices. Instead, we might perceive the entire universe as a flow of data, see organisms as little more than biochemical algorithms, and believe that humanity’s cosmic vocation is to create an all-encompassing data-processing system – and then merge into it.