Seas of data and oceans of information. With so much data and information collected and being collected out there in the Technojungle, what good is it? Can somebody use it? How does all that data and information affect your life?
Data, data, everywhere,
And all our words do shrink;
Data, data, everywhere,
Nor any thoughts to think. — Modified from The Ryme of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
We all like to think that we live an autonomous, or at least semi-autonomous, human life. We can determine what we do and hopefully have some control over what happens in our lives, both in the real world and the online Technojungle. Yet there are people we don’t know, particularly corporations, with access to massive databases and other massive collections of data and information, that are working hard to know more about us each day—perhaps more than we know about ourselves. They most certainly know more about you than you think they know. We humans have moved rapidly into an age of colossal amounts, even unimaginable amounts of data and information. It has been, and continues to be, collected about us every day. But what value is it, and for whom? Can it be used to guide, manage, even manipulate and control our lives in the Technojungle?
I just read that all the oceans of the world could possibly contain from 346,049,000,000,000,000,000 to 352,670,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water (three hundred fifty two quintillion, six hundred seventy quadrillion). That’s over 300 million trillion gallons in oceans that cover 70 percent of the Earth’s surface and 97 percent of all the water on the planet. However this is obviously an estimate given that less than 10 percent of the Earth’s oceans have been mapped by sonar. I found an estimate of the size of the Internet. It is (near the end of 2019) 1,628,473,6 Petabytes (a Petabyte is a 1 followed by 15 zeros (see Glossary). Another source claims the Internet is 10 Yottabytes. Or 10,000,000,000,000 (ten thousand billion) Terabytes. I read that the Internet we can access is only 4 percent of what is out there. The other 96 percent is usually called the Deep Web, or Dark Web. Another interesting claim is that, if we could connect all the humans in the world like the computers of the Internet are connected, we could store 2,127 Brontobytes of data (1,000 Yottabytes or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes. So the Internet takes up 0.00047% of humanities memory capacity. I’ve read that we humans only use 10 percent of our brain’s capacity. We are amazing!
Yesterday, collections of such vast amounts of information and someone controlling our lives was hard to imagine. Today it can be a reality; tomorrow it will be a certainty. I have watched as the computer age, including smartphones, and the Internet, has caused a massive expansion of the online Technojungle. It spawned powerful and influential companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (GAFA). It also began the spinning of the Web, invading our human lives, wrapping the world in a web of networks to gather information about us. We talk about the World Wide Web (WWW), but do you sometimes feel that all our connected devices are part of an even more massive web that is capturing our information in ways we can’t imagine? Have you ever watched a spider take it’s prey, caught in the web, and wrap it up for dinner later? Search engines send out spiders to find webpages for indexing.
Today is the dawn of an age where every aspect of our personal lives becomes wrapped and engulfed in the web of the Technojungle to be under its control. We have now entered the age of big data and the Internet of things (IoT), or the Internet of everything (IoE). From toasters to trash cans to toilets, everything is getting a computer connected to the Internet. They are being sold to us as smart devices that will make our lives easier. Cameras, microphones, and other sensing devices are everywhere. All the connected devices in our lives are collecting data and information which then gets sent somewhere for somebody to utilize in some way. This is the world of the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything. Can you think of some everyday items in your life and imagine them with a computer connected to the Internet?
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a sudden surge of online activity resulting in a massive growth of the seas and oceans of data and information in the Technojungle. People still need to interact personally for purposes of obtaining necessities, work, and social reasons. There is a need to differentiate, and manage, the lives of those who have, or are, infected from those who are vaccinated, and particularly from those people who have not been infected or vaccinated. We can predict that the seas and oceans of data and information will somehow be used for pandemic purposes. How can you see this happening?
We have been feeding the Technojungle web for decades, letting it digest our privacy, our attention, and just about all there is to know about who we are as human beings. There is so much data that has been, is being, and will be collected about us, that the Internet is now in a position to use that data to do some remarkable things. This is the idea behind Big Data. What unexpected results might emerge from the use of all this data and information in the future?
Processing the vast amounts of data out there in the Technojungle has become impossible using traditional databasing techniques. In the past, data in databases needed to be structured in fields. For example, suppose you wanted to have a database of data about the customers of your company. Your company database may also have information about the products you sell. Customer information and product information would go in two different Tables in your database. Tables hold records. A record is all the information related to one person or product. Records have fields. Names would be entered in fields for names.
However connecting many powerful computers around the world in a parallel web allows for the capture, curation, storage, searching, sharing, transfer, analysis and visualization of unstructured data in ways we could not have imagined yesterday. Also computing power just keeps growing, so individual computers can do more. There is even a term for this. It is called data mining. Is your information lost in the mix of that sea of data out there somewhere? Not anymore. Welcome to the future of safari life in the Technojungle.
I heard that some websites have the ability to allow other computers to use your computer’s processor while you use the website. It may be a tiny amount of computing power, but with thousands and thousands, the computing power adds up. It seems a bit creepy to me.]
Big data is collected and used by almost all the large corporations and organizations you can think of. They use it to spot trends in population segments, spot disease trends, to present you with customized information, such as books you might be interested in on Amazon, and in ways we have yet to dream of in the future.
How might big data become something that is even more important in your human life? Back to the Internet of Things. As mentioned above, essentially this is the making smart of just about everything around us and in our human lives. Yesterday, I had a computer on my desk. Then one day it got connected to a network in the online Technojungle. Soon, everyone had a computer connected online. Suddenly everyone around me had a smartphone, even poor people in third-world countries. Everything connected wirelessly to various networks.
We carry and wear these devices everywhere and use them to manage a plethora of aspects of our human lives. Tomorrow, we will be wearing and carrying, not just smart watches and chip cards, or smart cards, in our wallet, we will also wear smart underwear that is connected to our other smart devices and the Internet. Humorously I commented to someone one day about the notion of smart underwear. We laughed. Then I thought about it and realized that this would make a lot of sense to some people.
Smart wearables can track heart rate, body temperature, pressure, motion, body fat, hydration levels, and more. Eventually your underwear will monitor and collect data about how what you eat affects your microbiome, your health, and upsets your bodily plumbing. Smart underwear might be something I could do without, nevertheless, it might be able to detect health issues. Welcome to the explosion of the Technojungle.
In recent decades, much has been learned about the microbiome which consists of all the bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live in the body, particularly the gut. The microbiome of the gut now appears to be one of the most influential aspects of our body affection most areas of human health.
In the months since I first added the smart underwear idea here, a few companies have actually launched smart underwear products, some with smartphone apps. One company says they incorporate, “…ECG sensors, robotic knitting, and machine learning to offer boxers that track everything from your heart and breathing rate to hydration levels and body fat.” No doubt we will see more smart apparel, such as smart sox, in the future, and smart underwear will learn new tricks.
The Internet of Things is not just the smartening of your underwear. It is about using computers in all your appliances, in fact your entire house, even on and in your body. It’s about having them all connected to the Internet, big data—the Technojungle. Your devices can talk to each other and to other devices anywhere in the world. It’s sold to you on the convenience and safety of being able to turn off your heating, or close your front door, you realize you forgot to do, even when you have traveled to the other side of the world.
Suddenly, who you are virtually out there in the Technojungle cyber world—your image and persona—grows and takes a much clearer shape. Who you are as a human being becomes better understood by the Technojungle. Can you spot where smart devices are turning up in unexpected places and where they might turn up in the future? What data and information might they collect and how it might be used?
Who is in control of all this new technology? Because there are huge amounts of money and power involved, corporations and governments are in control as they have been in the past. The problem is, I don’t believe these bodies always have our best interests at heart. Most corporations are notoriously psychopathic in their relentless need to satisfy investors, governments and various other people that have a stake in the performance and success of the corporation. Thus there are factors that can take priority over employees and customers—humans. Most corporations only care to the degree that your information is useful to them and that they can get more of it. This is life in the corporate Technojungle and it can be dehumanizing.
I think the corporations behind the Technojungle have stumbled on a very smart idea. Or perhaps it’s just the Technojungle and the way technology develops and grows. My point is that it’s clear how one smart device leads to another, such as computer, then smartphone, then tablet, etc. These devices all need to share your data and information, for example your calendar, and since they may not all be in the same room, or same place in the world, to talk to each other, the best way is through a central server. This has birthed the cloud. The cloud is a central server that stores your information which can then be shared among any of your devices connected to the Internet.
We know that corporations, governments, and others, of the Technojungle collect and store your information, they track and know your every move. We also know that our data and information are not safe when accessible over the Internet, and that transmissions of information over the networks can be intercepted. All this reminds me of the Wild West and the transfer of gold and money by railroad and the emergence of banks. It didn’t take long for train and bank robbers to get away with the measly riches of people. I often wonder about these things, yet I continue to use the services. I don’t know how to avoid them if I still want to do certain things with my technology. To live in the Technojungle is to constantly be a target to somebody.
Yesterdays webs were spun by spiders to catch the next meal. Todays webs are Technojungle computer servers and networks. We humans log into these virtual places to enter and receive information about us and our world and to allow the Technojungle to track us and collect data and information. Tomorrow these webs will be all around us, wrapping and engulfing us humans everywhere we go and in everything we do. While it does seem that we are already surrounded, I wonder if we may be experiencing only the beginning of what could be in store for us in the unexpected future. The Technojungle webs will open doors for us, or keep us out. Eventually, they may select our meals and make sure that we manage our money well, or manage it for us. What else might these webs do someday? With these webs, are we the spider or the prey?
Will money become unnecessary in a Technojungle world where our human privacy and attention are the new monetary funds? Do you realize your privacy is compromised as corporations sell what they know about you to marketers who then seek your attention to sell you more and more products? If we give up our privacy and surrender our attention to the Internet Technojungle will it, in turn, look after us? If you desire a moment of privacy, will you pay with your attention, or something else, to the Technojungle? If you want to think on your own, will you pay with your privacy by letting the Technojungle listen in on your mind?
My hope is that human beings remain, and even become more, abstract, irrational, impulsive, inspirational, creative—all the aspects about us and human traits that a computer and the Technojungle can’t fully understand or be able to keep up with. At least not for a long time in the future. These attributes are what make us human and not precision machines subject to the Technojungle. What human attributes can you think of that could keep distancing us from becoming completely consumed and simulated by technology?
We are swimming over our heads in seas and oceans of data and information. If we could only truly see these seas and oceans, we would find them mind boggling. It is up to each one of us to begin to understand what is happening to us and our human world before we find ourselves in a digital dystopia. As we begin to understand, we can begin to learn about being human beings and living in a world of technology—the Technojungle.
Every moment of human existence now creates massive amounts of data and information that the Technojungle swallows. While we may not be able to make sense of it, our Technojungle machines can. Humans used to be the greatest influencers to the lives of other humans. That has all changed and we now live in a different world of influence.