Video Interview to Arkadiusz Stopzinsky, from the MIT Media Lab, Human Dymanics Group, by the videojournalist Laura Carrau at Telefónica, during Data Transparency Lab.
I am mostly interested in studying human interactions in very high resolution. Understanding how we move, who we meet – all on multiple channels like Facebook, calls, physical proximity and physical mobility. I am here to really understand and see how we can impact our understanding of transparency. What can do with the data that is generated by us as a society and that can be used for both – the good and the bad? Right now, unluckily, it tends more towards using it for the bad and we are very constraining what we can do with this data that we generate for the good. So, I am really hoping that this forum, DTL, will give us the opportunity to actually look and to act to move this balance towards using the data rather for the good than for online advertising and search optimization. There is nothing wrong with that, but we can do so much more and so much better things with the data we generate.
With your experience, what do you think can be done better? As you are saying that there is something wrong in online advertising, could you please explain which part? Just explain a little bit more and what you think what we can do to make this better.
Sure. One of the big challenges that we are facing right now is that, when we are using this very granular, very high-resolution data that everyone in the society currently generates, we start being closed into those bubbles. For example we are only presented the opinions that really resonate with us based on our previous searches, which inherently limits our opportunities to discover and express new things. But it really has a potential impact on us as a society and our force to create new things. Now, suddenly, we can put everyone into baskets where big corporations see they are fit. We can do so much better things with this data and can actually use it for good where so much opportunity is! One of the very recent cases is the idea to use call data records, which any Telco has, for the good. For example for epidemic tracking: Understanding how the diseases actually spread into the society and how they can be monitored. Not just years after the outbreak happen but actually in real time. It is real time data, that we are generating and now we can use it to see how diseases spread, how does a society move, where dangers are, where crimes occur in a city.
As a user, in my case for example, how can I get control over my data? Can I choose how much power I want over it?
Well, I really see that there needs to be two kinds of processes in the society at large. One is this top down process, which is legislation, with the law about how personal data needs to be handled. The other process is bottom up, where the users themselves need to express the opinion and their desire to control their personal data. And for both processes the very first step is transparency. Because right now, we as users, but also we as politician lawmakers, don’t really understand where problems are and what are they about. This is why the topic of this workshop, transparency, is for both – the users and the lawmakers, so important to understand where are the problems and what needs to be done.