(From August, 2014, and I just wasted several minutes trying to figure out if this should be on bricksscience.com or bricksbrain.com.)
Every day on Facebook is a bombardment of What Whatever Are You? quizzes. I think they’re a little creepy. All they do is feed data to the data miners. That’s what they’re designed for. Every time we answer one of those questions, we have described a little more about ourselves. It’s that data that data miners with their incredibly sophisticated algorithms sift through to know what kinds of ads to show us, what kind of politics we prefer, and if we have criminal or terrorist proclivities or not. There is not a quiz we take on Facebook that is not used for data gathering. Selling that data is how Facebook makes its money. And to everybody freaking about the NSA knowing everything, where do you think they get the majority of their information?
You’re looking at it. (Well, you are if you’re looking at this on Facebook.)
Not understanding data mining is like watching television without comprehending advertising. Imagine watching TV and thinking that every single commercial you were watching was true and shown for your own benefit. Imagine having no skepticism whatsoever about ads on TV. It’s unimaginable.
Well, that is Facebook. People refuse to become skeptical. But think of it this way…the data mining industry knows more about you than you do. They know our thinking and behavior and how we respond to certain stimuli (such as questions in quizzes.) And they are already shaping our behavior. Five years ago none of us would have bothered taking those What Kind of Whatever Quizzes, stupid as they are, over and over and over. Now we can’t stop. They’re stupid, they’re a pain in the ass, they’re a waste of time, yet Facebook users love them. And the only reward we get is being told we are Napoleon or Bob Dylan or Star Wars or Rhett Butler. Maybe three seconds of pleasure. Tell me the data mining industry isn’t controlling our behavior. And that is just one example. I’m still trying to figure out what algorithm is involved in those moronic “Think of a city that does not contain an A. 90% of people wiil fail” quizzes. A zillion people respond. Why? It is so subtle it must be brilliant. And why is “will” so often misspelled? It was wll–no i–for a while. Lately they’re wiil (two i’s). Why?
90% of you reading this will say so what, I don’t care, I’m not worried about it. Think about that. Why is your natural skepticism neutralized? You probably distrust just about everything else. Even the most paranoid leftist and tea party people you will ever meet, people who see conspiracies everywhere, know What Classic Rock Band They Are.