Big data is like atomic energy, according to scientist Albert-László Barabási in a Monday column on Politico. It’s very beneficial when used ethically, and downright destructive when turned into a weapon. He argues scientists can help resolve the damage done by government spying by embracing the principles of nuclear nonproliferation that helped bring an end to Cold War fears and distrust.
Barabási’s analogy is rather poetic:
“Powered by the right type of Big Data, data mining is a weapon. It can be just as harmful, with long-term toxicity, as an atomic bomb. It poisons trust, straining everything from human relations to political alliances and free trade. It may target combatants, but it cannot succeed without sifting through billions of data points scraped from innocent civilians. And when it is a weapon, it should be treated like a weapon.”
I think he’s right, but I think the fight to disarm…
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