Our Love/Hate Data: A Tyranny of Thumb

It’s always been about data, baby. Defining that fine line between data that we love and hate is all we do nowadays.

Data and The Force

Let me get my best Yoda on to debate this. *ehem*

Data, like The Force, is everywhere. Always, it has moved unseen and through us, becoming data that follows the paths of love and hate.

Data has never really evolved: in many ways, it’s always had to do with power, hunger, shelter, and getting it on.

Communication has never really changed either. In a vulgar sense, it can be said that it’s always been about deciding whether or not to reach out and touch someone.

These decisions, in a large part, go on to create everything – culture, economies, trysts (or poly-trysts) – by making of data something people love or hate (or both, but that’s for the more complexed folks in society. Starving artists and the like).

But with all the digital talk that goes on nowadays, how does anyone define that fine line between love and hate?

In a funny way, the same way we’ve always done. And faster. But is that better?

Decisions, Decisions

In an a/s/l-addicted bender, today’s high-speed, instant-everything society makes decision machines out of us. Never have we had so much power to get to and affect someone or something previously out of our reach.

A dusty old historian will tell you that, in the very beginning, our awesome thumbs had only to deal with making houses, weapons, and babies – pretty much. Decisions had to do with what was right in front of us at the very moment.

Nowadays, our thumbs can make decisions on anything they can touch on a screen. And within that screen is a constantly updating bank of data other people have already made decisions on and passed on through communication.

Hot or Not Society

What has happened, though, is that there’s usually only two decisions with data we want to love or hate. “Hot” or “Not”.

That important data – that we’re constantly refreshing, all day, everyday, and making decisions on 24/7, non-stop – has been suspended on a digital, tell-all binary – to “like or not-like”.

In effect, it has made bloated information caesars out of us. With our thumbs we dictate the fate of lives, resources, and history. Thumbs up – markets in Asia explode while exploitation in Africa thrives. Thumbs down – local prices go up as competition dries up, grinding on wages. All within a tap or a click.

The worst part of it all is that there’s usually no gradeable scale or rating system – like a 1 to 10 for example – that anyone listens to other than Rotten Tomatoes.

And that, unlike many movies that come out today, is some scary shit.


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