Even Google won’t be around for ever, let alone Facebook
In the first of these three ITGS news articles, The Guardian posits that even the world’s biggest technology companies, including Google and Facebook, will eventually disappear. After all, many of today’s tech giants didn’t even exist 20 years ago, while the once-dominant Microsoft and Intel have found their monopolies gradually eroded. Why is this relevant to ITGS? Google is the world’s premier search engine ‘knowledge’; Facebook is a detailed map of its users’ lives and memories, and Google is building the world’s biggest ‘library’ with its Google Books project. What happens to this knowledge when they are gone? Read the full article here.
Targeting crime before it happens
“Big data” is one of the latest technology buzzwords, referring to the vast quantities of data about us, our behaviour, and our interactions that technology can capture and store. This article discusses the use of such data by police to “detect” crime before it happens. One system uses crime statistics to automatically assign police officers to higher risk areas; another proposed system uses hidden microphones not to detect gunshots, but to detect noises and sounds that have previously occurred immediately before gunshots – allowing police to rush to the area before a crime has even occurred. Naturally these “predictive policing” technologies raise many ethical questions, and the article makes a very interesting – and scary – read. Read the full article here.
What your data says about you
Speaking of “Big Data”, two ITGS news articles from The Atlantic this week deal with the collection and use of personal data. What Does the Consumer Data Industry Know About You? is a break down of some of the items retailers maintain about consumers – some of the facts are quite shocking. Scientists Identify Drugs’ Side Effects by Analyzing Search Data describes how much about search queries reveal about us. In this case, researchers from Microsoft, Columbia, and Stanford discovered ” people who searched for *both* paroxetine (a common antidepressant) and pravastatin (for those with high cholesterol) were more likely to also look for a list of some 80 terms describing symptoms associated with hyperglycemia”.