The meaning of persuasion in the age of data

A data-driven economy is not a free economy. While there remains promise that algorithms acting on vast amounts of rapidly arriving data can produce a better economy, I am suspicious that such an economy will eventually languish because it robs the human actors of their ability to negotiate. The vitality of a free economy derives from individual freedom to negotiate terms of engagement. Eventually, A data-driven economy may prove to be superior but it will succeed only by suppressing natural human negotiation. Human actors negotiating in a data-driven economy must negotiate with machines. Applying approaches that work for other humans to machines instead is criminalized as cybercrime. Human negotiation involves coming to terms with weaknesses as well as strengths. Exploiting weaknesses of machines is a crime.

Datum Governance: Distinguishing bots from real world

Data deception is a concern for automated decision making based on data analytics (such as in my hypothetical dedomenocracy). I think it is already a concern with our current democracy. I fear the current enthusiasm for data technologies because I do not see much in the way of appreciation for the possibility of deception. There is a huge confidence in the combined power of large amounts of data and sophisticated statistical tools (such as machine learning). Missing from our consideration is how well the data actual captures the real world. The data is not necessarily an honest representation of what is happening in the real world. It is very possible that the data may include deliberate deception.

Modern sensitivity to offensive speech emerged out of the prohibition

Decisive democratic action is offensive action. Some group or many groups may be insulted by the decision. This was less of an impediment when the everyday culture expected insults and offense. The nature of speech was what we today call offensive. Consequently, there was no barrier to democracy making decisions that we today call offensive.

Economy of compensated opinions in a dedomenocracy

The original title for this post was to talk about balkanized data. In contrast to big data, balkanized data stays sealed and protected at the source. The large-scale analytics or policy making needs to engage with specific transactions with data owners to obtain the data they need for each specific analysis they are performing. This type of economy denies the centralized corporations or government access to volunteered release of bulk source data. Instead the centralized entities need to negotiate terms for each transaction. The terms will describe precisely what they want so the source can deliver the most appropriate answer. That negotiation will involve a monetary exchange with amounts proportional to the eagerness of the requester for that data. The result is the creation of a new economy analogous to intellectual property but where the property is simply personal data. Data is property. Owners will soon wise up about giving it away for free.