A Social History Response

The article for this week touched upon the same idea that the previous “Computer Boys” article touched on: Who has the power? With the advent of the computer, a whole new world of possibilities was created as well as a whole new sect of people who could build and program these devices. The struggle was to decide how important and pivotal these men and women would be and how often the computer would be used. Due to computer’s ability to store data, it was quickly seen that the invention was not only here to stay but would quickly become pervasive. The concept of ‘big data’ was therefore conceived, as companies could now store and analyze data like never before then. From this data came this question of to what extent data can be restricted and if this is an invention that is more beneficial than detrimental.

The part about Twitter and the Occupy Wall Street issue was especially interesting as both of these ideas are extremely contemporary concepts and inventions adding a degree of relevancy. I personally have a Twitter and have seen the trending topics on the side of the screen. From my experience these have been fairly accurate to the world around, as they are analogous to pop culture. It is interesting to think that perhaps the Occupy Movement was censored and more importantly if Twitter has the right to do that. I would think not since Twitter is a social media app for the people. What is the point of having a trending section if it isn’t even accurate? Twitter can tweet their own views instead of trying to portray ideas by restricting what can be seen. It is possible and probably more likely that it was just a mistake, or perhaps the movement wasn’t as pervasive as those running it thought. It does raise the question though how can we check, and are we then at a disadvantage for not understanding how these systems work?

Due to modern transportation and communication the world is becoming a much smaller place. As a result, knowledge of popular languages is of paramount concern. Interestingly enough, this article brings to light the question is computer languages should be on the radar as well. Computers are undoubtedly ubiquitous at this point, and it is valid to argue that most users are ignorant to how exactly they work. That brings to mind Elective C’s point: “…in the future everyone must be data literate… or their lives will be destroyed by those who are.” To be competent in the current world that we live in, do we need to be aware how to code, how algorithms work and how databases work? Will one day we be at the mercy of those who can? While a dramatic question, it is important to consider the ramifications. Perhaps there will be a day in which high paying jobs require a background in coding. In any event, the article brings up key questions about data literation and touches upon the larger question of the power of data.

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