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We are Watching Over You

By Diego Nascimento

Information is something valuable in every situation of life. Through it companies open or close, people come or go, wars begin and end, and the bank account of the watchers gets bigger and bigger. With each channel you watch on television, online shopping or computer searches a profile about us is built. But how does this work?

“Whoever has information has power.” Have you heard or read that saying? Few people imagine it, but World War II was won amidst the capture of data during a real collapse between the Nazi regime and the allied army, which was totally opposed to Hitler’s proposals. The British had a brilliant team of scientists including mathematicians and statisticians to decode any sound and print communications intercepted in enemy transmissions. Seven decades after Germany’s surrender, information is still subject to disputes, but this time it’s entrepreneurs and big corporations who want the smallest details about YOU. And it is no use isolating in the middle of a desert, because if you are reading this text now, your tracks have already been recorded by a robust computer engine.

The traffic of information circulating on the internet right now is absurd. According to the Statistic portal, one of the world leaders in statistical data collection, more than 3,600,000 searches were made per day on Google in 2017. In addition, more than 4 million videos were watched every sixty seconds on YouTube. We have reached a phase of connection that has no return. A small grocery store is a bridge for capturing information from a simple customer when he decides to pay the bagel and the latte on the debit or credit card. Everything stored, all interconnected.

For those who work with marketing, this new global profile brings benefits and also many challenges. The new concept of “urgent” and the constant offer of new products and services mean that behavioral habits are marked more intensely, requiring a more accurate monitoring of any movement. Proof of this are loyalty cards, mostly offered by wholesale and retail stores (supermarkets in general). What is apparently a customer benefit caters to your computer systems with your purchasing preferences (brand, size …) and even the intervals when you return to the store to fulfill a basic consumer mission, when, in fact, your presence is a source to improve the approach to suppliers.

On several occasions I have expressed in texts and lectures my fascination with human behavior. I calmly say that I observe the people with whom I converse and observe facial movement, argumentation, tone of voice and manner of dress in my mental decoding system. Even with years of study I confess that I am in the process of improvement, but a certain knowledge in the area has already allowed very interesting experiences. Now imagine all this managed by a mega system of computer science that prints, in a few seconds, its profile of consumption. Do you understand now why some of the releases on TV and on the web seem to have been designed exclusively for you?

I will close by alerting you to the importance of this set of events involving your life. In thirty years we have seen more technological innovations than the whole world over a period of 100 years in the Middle Ages. The clock is ticking, and I want to reassure readers about these transformations. As much as we cannot get away from them, we can maintain a firm position with regard to the informational garbage that all this propaganda produces. Explore the online environment, make good friends, meet family, take advantage of promotions in virtual stores, but never let this seeming “door of opportunity” disappear with your moral and ethical values.

Ah! And if the machines spoke, I believe the first sentence they would say is, “We’re watching over you.”


So, what do you think ?