Give Up All Your Data

Imagine a world where every advertisement you see is only something that you want to buy and can afford 🤑. If you don’t want to buy anything, you don’t get any ads. When something you don’t know about but would love is released, you get told about it. No more spam! Sounds great! 👍

And companies want this too. They waste so much money advertising to people who will never buy their products. They could save so much and spend more on making better inventions for you.

Now imagine that when companies are designing these products, they know exactly how to build the perfect contraption just for you. They could see how you used previous devices, competitors’ appliances and how to fit their new gizmo into your life. Now you’re happy that you have a better product, and they’re happy you keep buying from them 🥳.

We can get there! But the companies need your data 📊. Ideally all of it. They need to know that you would never go to the gym 🏋️‍♀️, so they don’t waste money advertising it to you. They need to know that you do like having a big night on Saturday and are trying to eat better, so that when your hanging on a Sunday they advertise you delivery low carb burritos instead of greasy pizza 🍕 with hot dogs in the crust.

At the moment many of us are very paranoid when it comes to giving our personal data to companies. You know no human is looking at your individual cloud data, right? It’s not like Jim in data processing is having a gander at one user’s data out of millions and going “Oh the cheeky bastard is searching for scratch and sniff porn mags again”. And even if he was, who gives a shit about Jim in data processing. It’s only machines 🤖 and algorithms going through your data, not actual humans. The humans just see trend data 📈 so they can help build better products for you, and let you know about things you want.

One potential downside to sharing your data with companies is when they create services with positive feedback loops ♾, and you don’t realise that.

Positive Feedback Loop - Where you like a funny article about ducks, now you start seeing more articles about ducks, you like a few more, next thing you know your entire feed is just ducks and you’ve signed up for duck impersonation training.

Often positive feedback loops can be great, Spotify recommending you songs 🎵 you’re likely to love. But if you don’t realise you’re in one, and you’re using a service that’s giving you news and political opinions, it can start to really distort your view of what the world is actually like. And when mixed with fake news, this can be really destructive.

Positive feedback loops aren’t unique to companies providing services. Most of your friend groups and the places you work are likely to be positive feedback loops. So the solution isn’t to boycott companies, it’s just to know when you’re in one of these loops, and factor that in when deciding what to believe and how to act.

So make sure you’re aware of positive feedback loops and any other biases related to sharing your data, but don’t let that stop you from helping companies make the world a better place. Share your data with companies, otherwise you’re just shooting yourself in the foot 🔫🦶.