Here’s why we are soon going to be flooded by data

Paul Graham says that transparency (and thus data recording) is the way out of corruption:

How do you break the connection between wealth and power? Demand transparency. Watch closely how power is exercised, and demand an account of how decisions are made. Why aren’t all police interrogations videotaped? Why did 36% of Princeton’s class of 2007 come from prep schools, when only 1.7% of American kids attend them? Why did the US really invade Iraq? Why don’t government officials disclose more about their finances, and why only during their term of office?

This is very important. Being rich brings you security, but not a lot of power if you have to go through the same process as everyone else. A just society is an open society where we record everything.

Big Brother might actually be the ticket to a just society.

Daniel Lemire, "Here’s why we are soon going to be flooded by data," in Daniel Lemire's blog, August 29, 2005.

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Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

5 thoughts on “Here’s why we are soon going to be flooded by data”

  1. Of course, data can be tampered with, but Bill Gates doesn’t have time go fiddling with data traces, and this is exactly why Microsoft got nailed with email traces. The more data we gather, the more people are needed to tamper it, and the more traces you have that you have tampered with the data.

    Suppose you wanted to delete all traces you visited my blog… how would you do it? Of course, I could have made up this comment you just added, I could… but then I would need to doctor other traces, like my server logs and so on… it becomes increasingly more difficult to do as more data is being gathered.

    So, what you are likely to end up with are conflicting reports… some data is saying something, other data is saying something else… this is a lot better than having no trace of this big check that was offered to your congressman.

  2. Oh, I agree that data and transparency are both important in fighting corruption. They help dissuade people from doing the wrong thing on the basis that they will (probably) get caught.

    I guess the idealist in me would rather that people avoid doing the wrong thing because, well, because its wrong!

    Put another way, rather then monitoring the system and providing negative feedback machanism to control output, I’d rather it was properly programmed from the beginning!

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