I’ve provided a lot more information online than I think I have. Every picture, every post, every search, and every video you post is recorded to a database and can be accessed. Over time, you create a “digital life log” of yourself, which contains a history of your interactions online. This life log can be harmful if it falls into the wrong hands, however it can also have a positive effect on ones life. The ability to look back on your previous actions can provide an incentive to change and improve your life.
An example of a common digital life log is Facebook’s new timeline feature, which allows users to look back to certain dates and see what they’ve posted. This timeline creates a life log of pictures, status updates, and events that are specific to that user’s life. I have posts on my Facebook that date back to 2008. I can look back on these posts and see how I was acting or what I was doing on certain days. Just by looking at my Facebook, I can see how much I’ve changed over the past couple of years. By looking back on how dumb I was in middle school, I can see how much I’ve matured since then.
I also enjoy being able to look back on all the great memories I have from high school on Facebook’s timeline. You can relive moments, and interact with friends and family who shared those moments with you. Researchers at UC San Diego and the University of Warwick found that Facebook updates are one and a half times more memorable than reading a book, and two and a half times more memorable than faces. This shows that Facebook users remember a lot of their posts and interactions on the timeline, which enhances their memory in the future. So instead of just looking back on updates and moments, Facebook is actually helping me to remember those great moments.
Digital life logs such as Facebook are becoming a reality in our everyday lives. These life logs help individuals gain a better understanding of their lives and even remember the moments they cherish. People should realize how valuable these technologies are in our lives, and use them to interact and grow.
“So in 2013 the amount of stored information in the world is estimated to be around 1,200 exabytes, of which less than two percent is non-digital.”
Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor, and Kenneth Cukier. Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. 9. Print.
Some people believe that the world gets too involved in our private lives by gathering our personal information, but where would we be without these types of services? It frightens some to know that they are being tracked on the internet, and they don’t like the feeling of knowing that “Big Brother” is always watching. These people are worried by the fact that their information is at there for most anyone to see. However, this collection of data is vital since it helps our society as a whole by helping people get the best experience out of their lives.
Big Data gives an example from just a few years ago of how the collection of information enhanced our well-being. The H1N1 virus was a global epidemic, and the CDC was doing a pretty good job, at that time, on tracking the virus’s location. The CDC’s process was tedious and lengthy, though, and Google saw a way that they could enhance the process. When Google unveiled their formula to track where H1N1 was located, it worked just as well, if not better, and allowed the data to be analyzed in real time rather than after 10 days or so. That wouldn’t be possible if Google wasn’t able to track searches.
We can find almost anything we need on the internet in today’s society. There are few things, compared to the amount of information out there, that you’ll be able to find in a book that you can’t find on the web. The internet’s interface becoming easier over the years has led to increase in its use. Thanks to innovators like Etzioni, the creator of Bing, the internet can help us with all sorts of decisions. It can give us options of fast food based on past searches, or it can give us stats on our favorite player’s previous game just from searching that player. One day, we might even be able receive a weekly weather report every Monday because your device recognizing a pattern of you looking at the weather for a week every sing Monday morning
The ability to have these services is a huge asset for our lives. It has already greatly improved them whether you want to recognize that or not. The world as we know it wouldn’t be the same without big data undergoing the change that it has over the past quarter of a century, and there are still greater changes to come. With nearly all of the data in the world being digital, it’s important that we accept the enhancements from big data taking place around us because they’re just making life easier for humanity. Cukier and Mayer-Schönberger understand this; they give us the example that “in the future- and sooner than we might think- many aspects of our world will be augmented or replaced by computer systems that today are the sole purview of human judgment” (12), which is a fascinating thought that has to constantly be tugging at the back of many of our minds.
Too much information, and so much of it lost. An unindexed Internet site is in the same limbo as a misshelved library book. This is why the successful and powerful business enterprises of the information economy are built on filtering and searching. Even Wikipedia is a combination of the two: powerful search, mainly driven by Google, and a vast, collaborative filter, striving to gather the true facts and screen out the false ones. Searching and filtering are all that stand between this world and the Library of Babel. (p. 410, Chapter 15: New News Every Day)
This passage seemed to be the most thought provoking because it makes me delve into the unknown world called the Internet and its filtering abilities. Cat videos and civil war facts have nothing really in common but they can all be found in one place, the Internet. This is where the idea of filtering pops in. Past purchases can stick with your computer’s history and keep bringing up ads related to your purchase. This is filtering to one’s own taste.
Through James Gleick’s The Information, I can get a gist of what he is trying to say about information. It all started with the upgraded creation of the transistor and the bit. This led to way too much information at once, or information overload. Too much information of one idea isn’t bad, but too much information of more than one idea is, though. I go on the Internet to look up math help but then get sidetracked to youtube. This is very dangerous for students like us, because too much information can be distractive and disruptive like the “Leave Britney Alone” video. Filtering is a good option for information especially if they do not want to go through all the billions of search pages that Google offers. All the information that is available is great and all but there is a time and place for funny youtube videos and math help. With this filtering process, time is saved and used for other purposes.
Businesses today use filtering to get the information more efficiently. Like the passage states, Wikipedia is a good example. They categorize their information and their information is usually correct. They have editors to fix wrong information but not all of them can be fixed because there is so much information out there and information can change daily. The last sentence of the passage really struck a cord with me. It is, in a way, very true. The world’s information contains the Library of Babel. All someone needs to do is filter the information they want into creating their Library of Babel.