The Manifesto of Dataism
By 2020, 50 billion objects of our daily lives will be interconnected via Internet (what is commonly called the Internet of Things), and more importantly, they will share all the data: how much milk we take each day, what program we see in Netflix, how much light we use, what our blood pressure is, etc.
Such disclosure is opposed by the human right to privacy. I do not want Apple to know my blood pressure when I’m running in the morning. However, does Apple really care about this data of James? The answer is no. Apple is only interested in the mere fact that in conjunction with the data of other users of Apple Watch we know that when people run, the blood pressure rises. And this final data in turn serves to identify health issues and their solutions.
At present, our whole culture is egocentric; ME and ME. I have human rights; I have the right not to disclose my information. However, the truth is that no one is interested in You; what counts today is the pure data. And the data do not serve if they are not shared; if they are not processed; and therefore, without process there are no conclusions. Conclusions that, however, could allow the advance of science, and the well-being of humanity.
Now, many consider this Dataism, according to Harari’s expression in Homo Deus, as a religion. God is the Great One Process (GOP) and we are His servants. But such a view is false, because it is precisely based on the lie that we have innate rights. When we format a hard disk, we have the free decision to install a firewall to avoid intrusions from outside, or not install it and share the disk with others, in the GOP, but at the risk of being a victim of a virus or any other cyberattack. The same applies to humanity. Do we continue with our so-called human rights-based firewall, or do we share with the community through unlimited data flow? Advocates of Dataism in general use one simple argument: if you have nothing to hide, why are you so afraid that your information will be public? Personally, I would put it another way: do you really think that in the GOP, where there are millions and billions of information, someone cares that John Smith, born the x, living in x street, yesterday ate spaghetti? I do not think so, unless you’re a movie star. And yet, what does it matter to the star that such data is known? Of course, the counterargument is that the star does not necessarily want everyone to know he has hepatitis, and such information can also hurt his career. However, the solution is quite simple: it is just a question of anonymizing the data, since they are the ones that count, not the individual that provides them. In other words, the accent does not have to be on non-disclosure of personal data, but on the anonymization of this data, which is technically quite feasible. This will respect the freedom of data to flow in the GOP, and vice versa the person is protected against any intrusion in its private sphere.
It is by tradition to oppose the ant to man: the collective without individuality, against the individual who lives in collectivity. Will the GPU annihilate individuality? It depends. If the individuality is innate, the answer will be affirmative. But such view is wrong. Evidence is that Asian countries like China live as a collective, while the West celebrates individuality. It means, individuality is acquired, not innate. There is no inherent right to the individual to be an individualist. It will be if education and culture so provide. A clear example exists in the field of intellectual property. Copyright is the right of the individual over his creation against the collective; the copyleft of the Creative Commons considers the creations as part of the public domain, and not as a reserved right.
However, one might argument an apocalyptic vision of the future; a future I call “Borgian”: the Borg – of the television series Star Trek -, is a civilization of humanoids that combine the synthetic with the organic, and this gives them better mental and physical abilities. The minds of all the Borg are connected by cortical implants to a hive, a collective mind, controlled by Queen Borg, who is able to supplant the individual identities and personal feelings of their subjects, for the pleasure that causes the liberation of the ego through psychotropic neurotransmitters that opens the minds to the transpersonal, being the queen Borg that dominates the transpersonal scope. This makes them drones. What a Borg thinks he shares with all the Borg of the hive. Thanks to this, if one Borg dies, another replaces him with the knowledge of the previous Borg, and can finish a task without starting again.
The Borg’s primary objective is to assimilate (transform living beings into Borg) to “improve the quality of life in the universe” and achieve their own perfection through the incorporation of the characteristics of assimilated species. To this end, they travel the galaxy assimilating other species and technology, forcing captured individuals to unite against their will to control the hive, injecting them with Nano sounds, which transform parts of their bodies into mechanical or synthetic parts. That Borgian way of seeing the world already exists. Take for example the blockchains. To date, in order to know if a document is authentic, we need a notary who exercises public faith. That notary, at least in theory, is a very honest and highly respected person. If he says it’s true, then we can believe it. It is a ME notary. With the blockchain, we have an online Excel shared with all, and in which you cannot change the information if the majority does not endorse it. It’s a Borg Collective. If the notary dies there is no one to prove the truth. If a member of the blockchain dies, still, the system continues, and the member is easily replaced.
Of all the above, what is probably more annoying is the idea of intrusion into one’s private life: I do not want everyone to know with whom I spent the night and what I did or did not do. However, one ought to distinguish the issues. Apples and pears. If for example I have a sexual relationship, Apple Watch measures my blood pressure, but does not register with who I am and why. Different is the situation that occurs with Alexa, the artificial intelligence of Amazon, that located in the house can, without the user’s knowledge, record voice and images. In this case, we are in the presence of an intrusion of privacy, which cannot be tolerated. In other words, it is not about being Borg without individuality and private life, but to be data providers anonymized for the GOP.
Finally, we note that for example the GOP has been in existence for dozens of years … and is called the Census Bureau. Do not we respond every x years to its questions? And why do we answer? Because we are convinced that the data is anonymous. The Census Bureau asks me if I am gay: the Census Bureau´s final report does not state if my answer was yes or no; it only states that x% of the population is gay. So, what’s the difference with Apple Watch? Well, no difference at all!
It is time to put a brake on the ME, and integrate into the collective. The collective is not the end of the individual, but the addition of all the individualities to form a collective, which in turn protects and cares for the individual.
Such is the postulate of Dataism.