How unfortunate it is for one to claim that they love or hate something/somebody yet they have little or no knowledge about it. What then qualifies one to say so? What does one has to possess in order to wield power over something? What is the absolute element of control? Wisdom, they say it is. But one cannot master wisdom unless he masters the origin of it. For centuries the human race has been very careful on how it lives his life. A question of what is safe to expose to another and what is not safe, would be easily answered. For a long time, we have understood the element of power. Wisdom. And we have enveloped ourselves in packets that are leak-proof of knowledge, for knowledge is the root of wisdom. But not anymore. Things have changed.
Connectivity: the source Data
Clearly, we are surrounded with data everywhere. Facebook, twitter, whatsapp, tumblr, pinterest, LinkedIn etc., instantly connects me to my loved ones, prospective employees, and whomever I wish to talk to. SMS services plus phone calls, and email connects me to my loved ones also. E-portal services like e-tax, and other online government services connects me to the government. Online services like search engines, e-learning, ecommerce satisfies most of my needs without any physical barrier. Banks, mobile money transfer services connects me to the financial control centers. The Internet of things (IoT) connects me, and whomever it may concern, to my things e.g. my smart garden. Everything now is built upon connectivity a production of data. But to what end?
The element of control
For each data an object generates, it exposes an entity of itself. Each time, providing an opportunity for a third party to master it, to wield power over it. Let me break this down.
Data: just raw. When a credit card is used to purchase an item, it generates the figures of the transaction. It also exposes the geographical coordinates of the client’s situation. Each time there is a transaction, these data are generated. But data simply exists, it has no significance beyond itself, does it? But it is the beginning of all, an expose to what is next.
Information: the art of mastering relationships. It is the understanding of what caused what. Why did he use that ATM X machine and not the other ATM Y? Y looks closer than X from his point of standing? Or was he avoiding the police. And so we conclude, it was the presence of the police officers near ATM Y that made him use that other ATM X, located further apart. Possible cause and effect is so far established.
Knowledge: a deterministic process resulting in a collection of useful information. Can you understand the patterns? In the presence of the police, our suspect will most likely refrain from showing himself. But with every purchase we could trace his paths, his patterns, his lifestyle, and finally we could capture him. We can predict his next move. But don’t mistake prediction with control. The only factor we need to control is time. Knowledge, once you have it, it does not escape you easily, but you can simply dispel it whenever necessary. And with it comes understanding, an analytical process in which you can synthesize new knowledge from a previously acquired knowledge. Is it knowledge if you can’t understand it?
Wisdom: an embodiment of an understanding of the principles that encompass that knowledge. An understanding of all the interactions pertaining a system. It is easily stated, a thief steals because he steals. It is human programming, bringing understanding where there is none. It is the absolute power over a thing, for you understand how and why it does what it does, hence you can easily ensnare it. For the human, it is social engineering.
Who is the controlled?
So we have affirmed that the source of it all is data. It is what leads to the ultimate factor of control. If someone or something can generate a lot of data but it doesn’t have any control of it in any sense, the he is subject to full control. The data you generate on social media accounts, e-service portals, and money transfer services, calls and SMS, the massive Big Data from the Things (IoT); all this data, are you in control of it all? Are you in charge of all the document databases where your chat are stored? There might be end-to-end encryption during the data transmission, but at the other end? What goes on there? To all the logs of your call?
Who is the controller?
Any entity with the power to extract information out of data, obtain knowledge from it and wield power therefore is the absolute controller. We call them the data analyst, data scientists, big data scientists. The modern tools that expose this power are like the R programming language (using the R software), NumPy and SciPy Python packages, Matlab. We can classify all these under the subject of Data mining. Are you able to mine that knowledge in a large field of meaningless data? If you can, then control is absolutely in the palm of your hands.
Data is the next scarce resource that the brilliant human will fight to take control of. Control, as we know it is a very dangerous thing. The victim has a lot to lose, maybe he will lose all those job opportunities at every interview just because the companies have all the information regarding her unwelcomed behavior in social media platforms.