Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Futurist Predictions in the World of Technology

        Tech | Future Tech

Mass Data

Even if scientists and marketers can't get access to our brains for neurohacking or neuromarketing, can they get access to our data? With unprecedented amounts of images and data available online, filling clouds and other Web-based storage, media, government regulatory bodies and marketers work around the clock to mine user preferences, habits and even relationships.

What to do with all of this data, and more specifically and maybe more urgently, how can we keep all of our activities in the virtual space from shaping the real space of our world? As search preferences narrow results when using the Internet, and our reading and research have become "optimized" based on what key words people search for, our choices in buying products and accessing news and information narrows as the enormous stores of data accumulate.

Data and the machines and algorithms used to manage and make sense of it could largely replace independent decision-making -- either large or small -- and it is happening at such a speed that it's sometimes hard to remember the data isn't in control. People still control the data, but just who has this control and what they do with it will become an ongoing challenge [source: Seligson; IGF].