big data has data issues

9. These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.

 

Or, in other words, Big Data. I could go all optimistic (and that can still happen, one never knows what I’ll do, including me!), but I think it is time I went full on at that Big Data dudebro running shit everywhere.

What is Big Data? This will tell you what IBM thinks. This will tell you how a globlisation-oriented think tank views big data.

And this will tell you how twitter sees global conversations as doing big data’s work for it. And that links to this, which tells you what twitter really thinks about what it does. These last two articles are as much about big data as big data is about big data itself: attempting to gather all information about itself as possible.

Big data’s identity is self-referential. It is its own little existential crisis; in order for it to exist, big data must make a big deal about itself. Therefore, it needs to employ marketers to study people and how they put out data, so it can then hire marketers to study if the data it is collecting is data. If it is data, then big data gets to tell itself it is big data.

Big data has data issues.

Incidentally, this is simulacra gone perfectly simulacrum. Never in big data’s mind is the question of ethics and the personal. While big data gallops off in capitalist jaunt to keep itself alive, it forgets what it really is: humans full of information sharing.

We are not data. We are not objects of study. And, by no means, are we really objects studying other objects as data.

This is a matter of ontology. This is a matter of materiality.

I am going to go off and make a pretty big argument about data now. I hope some of you challenge me, but I won’t hold my breath. No one has taken me up in conversation yet. Sigh. I just want someone to talk with, guys! Lol. It’s cool.

Anyway : )

I don’t really like data. I prefer information. The word data implies a loss of identity to humans and beings. It is the linguistic mechanism that makes who we are studyable outside of who we are. It takes away the personal relationships among people. It appropriates all life as objective.

Is life really objective? If you think it is, we are at an odds. I hope you speak up here so we can talk through it.

Talking is the key here. When we converse with one another, we are acknowledging one another’s humanity. Conversation requires listening, understanding, then speech. Therefore, conversation is difficult; it requires work.

But it is a whole lot of different kind of work than, say, working for the machine. Because all that machine thinks of us as is this. We can scroll back up to the language in this thesis 9, and see that everything comes back around to value.

My post yesterday brought up the relationship between humans, beings, and economy. All things have a worth. Now I do not like to call any part of life a thing. That is my sole aggravation in life. When we thingify, we commodify.

However, I am going to subvert myself. l, what does it mean to thingify things? things like thought, stuff, and other inanimate objects?

The thesis above says there is such a thing as knowledge exchange, which adheres to the premise of the existence of big data as real, and probably legitimate.

I would continue to argue that knowledge can be exchanged without value. Instead, it can be exchanged with freedom.

What the new ontology brings is a reconception of things—an unthingification. I am not necessarily condoning yet another philosopher toting around large terms to extol on my soapbox a language that demands use. Nope.

What I am actually doing is kinda deconstructive, but more something else. I don’t want to name it. I don’t even think “new ontology” is good enough.

Rather, I think—and more so wonder—if we can’t start creating a language that resists our thingification altogether. People don’t have to be things, and neither do words. Maybe then we can exchange knowledge without appropriation.

After all, isn’t all information in the internet language?

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One thought on “big data has data issues

  1. “Big data’s identity is self-referential.” Too true. You have spoken a truism I couldn’t agree with more.

    “I don’t really like data. I prefer information. The word data implies a loss of identity to humans and beings. It is the linguistic mechanism that makes who we are studyable outside of who we are. It takes away the personal relationships among people. It appropriates all life as objective.” YES.

    I agree. Data assumes the politics of scientism when anything but is the case. Data is less about science and more about surveillance, but by calling it data, we distance ourselves from the complicated politics of 1984. Markets march on so long as they are not self reflective. Google is equally in the business of advertising and surveillance PR innovation, same with Facebook, and everyone else.

    I see what you did there, and I think I still have to learn to tear down the power structures in my words.

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