Monday, December 22, 2014

2375 TV Watchee

Perhaps 2014 will go down as the year of the hacker. From department stores to banks to the malicious things inflicted upon Sony it seems as if the hacker folks of the world are flexing their mental muscles.

Since we're all so interconnected, we're all vulnerable. Worried about your real identity? Here's another area of concern. Even Sony's Playstation network has been hacked, so it's entirely possible our virtual identities are also at risk. Damn, my avatar hates technology too.

So, knowing that Playstation consoles can also stream regular video, a recent story I read about Netflix got my foil hat twirling.

The article started out telling about the Netflix show House of Cards and how successful it's been but was actually about why that was so: Because Netflix harvests data to create programming. Hackable data I might add. The most interesting phrase in the article was that "streaming is a two-way street."

Netflix uses that data to not just study what you watch, but how you watch it. It can tell whether you fast-forward through certain parts or if you pause the show for some reason. Creators of Netflix programming use this data to determine things as basic as color palettes and scenery. 

This feeds into today's biggest data lie: That you only like things like you liked before. 

Whether news aggregators tailor your news sources to news like you read before, or Pandora offers you playlists based on what you heard before, Big Data is slowly narrowing the range of your experience and robbing you of the surprise of the new. Surprises that psychologists say are absolutely necessary for mental flexibility and growth, and warding off early Alzheimer's.

Surprises I like. 

Except when I find out my TV is watching me.  

America, ya gotta love it. 

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