Acrylic Friends. Site specific installation
I have a few people in my life who are a bit ‘toxic’. What if I got a nudge to ignore them or they subtly disappear from my screen. This is the future.
It’s not about the data gathered on you, our next fixation will be the data gathered about the people around you. We worry about data captured about us… our beloved phone tracks our location, apps capture intimate personal details, our search, shopping…even my kindle knows how fast I read. Soon, these will not concern us as much as the algorithms that detect our relationships and how people affect us.
Human interaction feels complicated, but the intricacies of friends are ripe for machine learning. I predict we will casually use the data we know about us and the people around us to manipulate our behavior, our body chemistry and mood. The surprise is that it will be easy. It will start with how people affect us. Are they toxic or a vitamin?
We already use social networks like a life-long rolodex, the obsessive of us ‘curate’ our feed by specifying who we keep an eye on and who we unfollow. Soon, the proper dosage of friends will be served up to us in easy-to-consume social networks and messaging apps. Who we encounter may not be so random.
Does data collection have to be so one-sided, I don’t imagine an outside force effectively policing data. Instead, couldn’t we have more access, to see the algorithms that predict our behavior and shade our experience online? It’s incredibly opaque, companies track intricate details about us, and it’s a big secret. If my data is so valuable, why don’t I get to see it? If I’m getting tracked, I should get access to it. I want my data. Not the simple stuff I can download, but what the algorithms predict about me. It could be 2-way. If you track me I get access. I want my data, take back your data.
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