Will Big Data Make Free Will Irrelevant?

blogging.avnet-indexThe Net is flooded with online articles about Big Data I started to think the issue is just being used for publicity and propaganda—until I read this piece relating Big Data to free will
What does it mean when Big Data can make a prediction that someone has a high likelihood of committing a crime? Should the criminal justice system intervene? If predictive analytics can be used to pinpoint our behavior, even before we have purchased a product or committed a crime, how does that impact our understanding of free will and how we treat individuals accordingly?

‘”If I could tell with a 98 percent statistical accuracy that you are likely to shoplift in the next 12 months,” Cukier tells Big Think, “public safety requires that I interact.”

‘So what does this interaction mean? Typically you have to commit a crime before you are penalized for that crime, Cukier points out. However, maybe Raskolnikov gets a knock at his door. It’s a social worker arriving to offer services. “We’d like to help you.”

‘Of course, this kind of intervention has its costs. Raskolnikov would become stigmatized in the eyes of his peers, or his school teachers. And after all, he hasn’t done anything wrong yet. Data analysis might tell us that he is likely to kill, but doesn’t he still have free will?…’

Big Data is Big Money
Drugmakers have the ability to make money—by spending multimillion dollars just to discover what doctors are prescribing

‘Need another reminder of how much drugmakers spend to discover what doctors are prescribing? Look no further than new documents from the leading keeper of such data.

‘IMS Health Holdings Inc. says it pulled in nearly $2 billion in the first nine months of 2013, much of it from sweeping up data from pharmacies and selling it to pharmaceutical and biotech companies. The firm’s revenues in 2012 reached $2.4 billion, about 60 percent of it from selling such information…’

AT&T claims that Sponsored Data doesn’t violate net neutrality
‘Last week, the telecom giant unveiled the sponsored data program for its wireless network, a program that will allow businesses to foot the bill for the bandwidth of their videos, applications or other content, rather than counting it against subscribers’ monthly data caps.

‘For digital rights groups like Public Knowledge and Free Press, the plan of the nation’s second-largest wireless provider appears another step toward a pay-for-play Internet where carriers and well-heeled companies can reach agreements that amount to giving preferential treatment to certain types of content over others. Businesses that could not afford to pay—garage startups are a favorite example—might find themselves at an even steeper competitive disadvantage against their larger and more established rivals…’

Kansas Professors Call For Suspension of Controversial Social Media Policy
‘According to multiple reports, it looks like the Kansas Board of Regents’ controversial social media policy will have a short life.

‘The policy is meant to define responsible use of social media by faculty and staff at the state’s six higher education institutions. The mandated policy was implemented December 18, 2013 with no input from either faculty or staff at any of the state’s institutions.

‘The policy was inspired by a tweet from journalism professor David Guth (seen below) wishing the death of children of National Rifle Association members.  Guth apologized for the tweet after the fact and was placed on administrative leave in the fall of 2013. He has not returned to teaching duties yet.

‘Faculty members came to the aid of Guth claiming he was punished for exercising freedom of speech while some state legislators urged the university to fire him. The American Association of University Professors called the policy “a gross violation of the fundamental principles of academic freedom.”…’


About DigitalPlato

Poch is a Bookrix author and a freelance writer. He is a frequent contributor to TED Conversations.
This entry was posted in business and commerce, criminal law, cyberlaw, privacy laws and violations, social media, Society, TECHNOLOGY and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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