all bits considered data to information to knowledge

29Jun/120

I know what you read last summer… And I know what you’re reading now

With proliferation of electronic reading devices we surrender many personal liberties we've taken for granted for so long: now it is possible not only to find what and when you bought a book but also whether you've read it, for how long, on what days of week, at what time, what drew your attention... As Wall Street Journal's article puts it "Your E-Book is reading You".

Convenience comes with many strings attached though. What would electronic equivalent of Bradbury's Farenheit 451 look like? The entire messy business of replacing hard-copy of newspapers and books detailed in Orwell's 1984 went away replaced by infinitely malleable bits and bytes. Nobody misses developing films - what about times when a photographic negative was a considered an irrefutable proof?

Personal reading experience becomes a raw material for data analysis, and I, for one, am rather uneasy with this brave new world. This adds to yet another piece of puzzle for constructing your personality on social networks, where people and organizations with BI savvy are mining your personal experiences in hopes to sell you ever more stuff (e.g. How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did) - or for some other, not always as benign, reasons.