9 Comments
May 30, 2021Liked by Matt Locke

Personal data is territory... not territory a state would defend, but territory a community inhabits, its landscape made up of myriad interactions... natives supposedly gave away their territory for glass beads (they didn’t), are we going to be those digital natives (we probably will)?

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Jun 2, 2021Liked by Matt Locke

Hi Matt. Great post, very thought provoking. I have recently published a blog inspired by a quote from David McCandless that "data is the new soil". Applying this analogy, your concern would be that the tech giants could be viewed as planting their crops in your own back garden, using the data-soil to grow produce that meets their own purposes but are no respectful to the land. I think more could be made of the sustainability / environmental responsibility analogies that spin off this concept of data-soil. Keen to get your thoughts.

https://endjin.com/blog/2021/05/data-is-the-new-soil

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May 30, 2021Liked by Matt Locke

Matt, I am really intrigued your point about effective metaphors. I really liked <a class="u-in-reply-to" title="πŸ“‘ TADA – A New Look At β€˜DATA’" href="https://collect.readwriterespond.com/tada-a-new-look-at-data/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">John Philpin's suggestion of data as energy</a>. However, the problem with 'energy' as a metaphor is that it just does not stick. I think that data as people struggles in the same way. I therefore wonder what the 'hole in the ozone layer' might be?

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May 26, 2021Liked by Matt Locke

I've been grappling with this one for almost a decade now. The most effective analogy I've come up with (to explain to non-technical people) is also somewhat cumbersome for other purposes, but here it is anyway:

Let's say you walk down the beach (yes, I came up with this while at MIPTV in Cannes ;)), or in the woods. You will leave footprints. Unless the place you were walking is a crime scene, or someone is looking for you, chances are nobody cares about your footprints, and pretty soon they will be gone. But in the digital world, your footprints are captured and logged and hoarded and bought and sod. Those footprints are currency.

I think one of the reasons this is so hard for many people to wrap their heads around is because that meta-level stuff is usually disregarded in the real world. If we want to understand a life, we look at its artefacts. Personal data is a level deeper than that, and correspondingly more abstract.

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Sounds a bit like data is Soylent Green

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