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经济学人:信息时代 数据即我(01)

Leaders

社论

Identity

身份

Les stats, C'est moi

统计数据,就是我

A new way to think about data is needed

需要用新方法看待数据

“Data”, runs a common refrain, “is the new oil.” Like the sticky black stuff that comes out of the ground, all those 1s and 0s are of little use until they are processed into something more valuable. That something is you.

有一句经常描述数据的语句:“数据是新石油。”就像从地里钻出来的黏糊糊的黑色石油一样,所有这些由1和0组成的数据都能被加工为更有价值的东西。而这种东西就是你。

Seven of the world’s ten most valuable companies by market capitalisation are technology firms. Excluding Apple, which makes money by selling pricey gadgets, and Microsoft, which charges businesses for its software and services, all are built on a foundation of tying data to human beings. Google and Facebook want to find out as much as it is possible to know about their users’ interests, activities, friends and family. Amazon has a detailed history of consumer behaviour. Tencent and Alibaba are the digital wallets for hundreds of millions of Chinese; both know enough about consumers to provide widely used credit scores.

全球市值最高的10家公司中,有7家是科技公司。除了通过销售昂贵电子产品赚钱的苹果公司,以及向企业收取软件和服务费用的微软公司,其他公司都是建立在将数据和人类联系在一起的基础上。谷歌和脸书希望尽可能了解用户的兴趣、活动、朋友和家庭。亚马逊则有消费者行为的详细历史记录。腾讯和阿里巴巴是数亿中国人的数字钱包;这两家公司都充分了解消费者,还提供广泛使用的信用评分。

Where tech companies have blazed a trail, others have followed. Consumer brands in every industry collect data on their customers to improve design and advertise products and services. Governments have looked at these firms and instituted their own systems to gather information on their citizens. Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, cites Facebook as an inspiration. That is apparent in the ever-expanding reach of Aadhaar, an id system for India’s 1.3bn residents that is required for nearly every government service imaginable.

科技公司开辟道路时,其他公司也在跟进。每个行业的消费品牌都在收集客户的数据,用来改进产品和服务的设计和广告。政府已经关注了这些公司,并建立了自己的系统来收集公民的信息。印度总理纳伦德拉·莫迪将脸书作为灵感来源。这一点在Aadhaar不断扩大的覆盖范围中很明显。阿达哈尔是印度13亿居民的身份识别系统,几乎每一项政府服务都需要这个系统。这点在Aadhaar数据系统不断扩大的范围中显而易见,Aadhaar数据系统是印度13亿居民的身份证系统,几乎所有可以想象得到的政府服务都需要它。

That data are valuable is increasingly well-understood by individuals, too, not least because personal information is so often hacked, leaked or stolen. India’s database has been shown to be vulnerable to scammers and state abuse. Facebook has spent most of 2018 dealing with the reputational damage of multiple breaches, most notably via Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm. The list of other companies that have suffered some sort of data breach in 2018 alone reads like a roll call of household names: Google, Marriott, Delta, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Best Buy, Sears, Saks 5th Avenue, even Panera Bread. Such events have caused a tectonic shift in the public understanding of data collection. People have started to take notice of all the data they are giving away.

个人也越来越清楚地认识到数据的价值,尤其是因为个人信息经常遭到黑客入侵、泄露或窃取。印度的数据库已被证明易受骗子和政府滥用职权的攻击。2018年的大部分时间里,脸书都在处理多重入侵造成的名誉损害,其中最引人注目的是通过咨询公司剑桥分析公司处理这些事情。2018年其他遭受某种数据泄露的公司名单读起来就像一份明星公司名单:谷歌、马里奥特(美国第二大宴会承包商)、达美航空、英国航空公司、国泰航空公司、百思买公司、西尔斯百货、萨克斯第五大道百货公司,甚至帕尼罗面包店。这些事件已经导致公众对数据收集的理解发生了结构性转变。人们已经开始注意到他们提供的所有数据。

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