In my day job I deal with companies that need to improve their management of data. Managing information better can lead to better decision making, greater efficiencies and better innovation; amongst others.
However it seems that there may be a slightly pernicious trend emerging that I don’t like. The crunching of data to define our ‘likes’, behaviours, relationships, needs, and desires could result in the joyful unpredictability of human kind is smoothed and crushed. A narrow standard deviation curve results in more homogenous products, colours, flavours, service. We become entities on a graph that someone interprets – we are served content, media, products based on our digital footprint. Could this become self-fulfilling, could we end up with less choice, less random opportunities, less chance – because everyone is trying to predict?
I have heard some uncomfortable conversations that seem to reduce customers – you and I – to a series of numbers, trends, and segments. But often, interpreted and articulated by people who know very little about the customer. We are removing the real interaction that requires learning, and replacing it with fake learning. Even politics is getting in on the game.
As they say, a little bit of knowledge in the wrong hands is dangerous. Don’t get me wrong, technology and data has some great, useful, and wonderful applications.
I just fear the accessibility to my life being used in an amateur and unthoughtful way – might create a world of sheep; all following predictable self fulfilling patterns that we ‘share’.