Who needs democracy when you have data? It depends


It depends on WHO is “you”, and WHERE.

I only notice now a really entertaining article at MIT Technology Review, that asked (in August 2018) “Who needs democracy when you have data?”.

It is about “how China rules using data, AI, and internet surveillance”. And this is why I consider it entertaining:

Who needs democracy when you have data? It depends /img/who-needs-democracy-when-you-have-data-china-or-facebook.jpg

Replace “China” or “Chinese government” with “Facebook” or, if you prefer, “Big Tech”, and almost all of it still stands. Try it. What changes is who benefits and on what ideological grounds, and how visible the control is. But at the end of the day, the concrete effects on the average citizen are quite similar.

Here are some quotes to prove my point:

  • the basic problem: “figuring out what’s going on at lower levels and across society”
  • “Data instead of dialogue” (compare with this)
  • “the Chinese government rarely releases performance data that outsiders might use to evaluate these systems”
  • “There are rising demands for privacy from Chinese internet users…It’s not quite the free-for-all that it’s made out to be.”

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