We live in an age of big data. Everything we do leaves behind a digital trace, which creates tremendous potential for transforming systems, policies, research, and society at large. Is this plethora of information being used for the greater good?
Who defines what the greater good is?
How much should we resist these outside forces (e.g., sleeping apps, fitness apps, social networks) shaping our everyday lives?
Companies that have access to our data (e.g., Google, Apple, and Facebook) are relieving us of the burden of investigating the basis for making thoughtful decisions. But is this good for individuals or for society?
These types of companies are following a global optimization strategy, but they are not optimizing our capacity for intelligent, rational thought. This short-circuiting of data gathering and investigation about current issues leads to learned helplessness, incompetence and erroneous decision making. Commercial interests appear to be guiding more and more of our choices.