This is a report in English by VPRO in the Netherlands about the role that big data is playing in everyone’s life right now, and how that is a genuine cause for concern.
We hear from various people who are looking into this matter, from workers on the ground, who are affected by data and algorithms, to data analysts and scientists, and investigative journalists.
The overall impression is one of concern that the algorithms are locking biases into so-called “neutral” systems, and distorting matters in such a way that they cannot be opposed.
Some of the people we meet is a bike courier whose work is controlled by an algorithm which doesn’t understand such things as punctures; and a prisoner whose parole was delayed because the algorithm showed him a potential risk.
The film also looks at the influence Facebook had on the 2016 American election, and on revolutions, and counter revolutions around the world.
The conclusion is obvious, although it is hardly stated: when corporations have too much knowledge things can go very awry for the individual. We need privacy and without it we will have built a dystopia we will all have to live in.
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