At a time when the American people are up in arms over the Federal Government’s collection of their personal data through electronic means, General Electric (GE) decides they need to come to the defense of “Big Data” by creating a commercial touting its important uses.
What possible good could come from the collection of all this “Big Data” you ask?
Well according to GE, “Big Data” could be used to track the location of a specific group of people who are considered a threat to society (Commercial can be seen at the top of this post).
GE’s new commercial is titled “Datalandia: De-Vamping Datalandia”. In this commercial, GE chose to create a threat to the fictional town of Datalandia in the form of sexy vampires. In order to save the townsfolk from the threat of “missing cows and 6 pack abs” GE decides to employ “Brilliant Machines”. Now these “Brilliant Machines” give the Police Chief of Datalandia the ability to utilize (As the commercial puts it):
…advanced analytics to cross reference night time energy data with werewolf chat rooms to pinpoint the locations of the vampire covens.
Because of this ability to “pinpoint” the location of these threats given to the Police Chief by GE’s “Brilliant Machines”, he was able to lure the vampires to a stadium where the lights were turned up making them uncomfortable. Realizing they were no longer welcome, the vampires left Datalandia thereby making the “Brilliant Machines”, the Police Chief and Big Data the heroes of the story. Or as GE attempts to sell it “Datalandia: The Small Town Saved By Big Data”.
Now what is truly terrifying about this commercial is not the vampires or the werewolves, but it is in the realization of the fact that the ability for these “Brilliant”, aka Smart, Machines to have the ability to pinpoint your location through your energy and internet use, is already well on its way to becoming a reality.
GE has been one of the key partners with the Obama Administration in pushing forward the Smart Grid. GE is also a member of the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) which was asked by the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST, A Department of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government) to help create the standards for the Smart Grid.
In so doing, the NIST created a certain number of Priority Action Plans (PAP) which gave general guidelines to the NAESB for specific areas of the Smart Grid which would require standardization in order to assist in the wide spread adoption of this technology.
A few years back the NAESB completed, and the NIST adopted as one of the first 6 official standards for the Smart Grid, PAP-10 NAESB Energy Usage Information Model.
PAP-10 lists the type of information which will eventually be collected through the Smart Grid. Among the types of information which will be collected through the Smart Grid besides your hot water usage, your carbon creation and Ice cube use (just to name a few) also happens to be your internet and energy usage. (Wow where did we hear that before?)
So knowing this, let’s rewrite GE’s commercial into something that is much more realistic shall we? But instead of using a fake town we will just make it a real nation.
Let’s say that there is this country called the United States of America.
This country happens to have a large population of citizens who happen to disagree with things like …oh… Big Government and Big data. We’ll call them the Tea Party.
Realizing that these kind of free thinking, Liberty loving people are a threat to their Tyrannical power, the Politicians of this nation utilize their national Police force, called the Department of Homeland Security, to take care of this “problem”.
In order to take care of this “problem” the DHS (We’ll call them that for short) utilizes the Smart Grid to track the Internet behaviors of the entire populace in order to pinpoint those who are Tea Party members. Once identified, the DHS then uses the Smart Grid to track their energy usage data in order to tell when they are most likely to be home.
With this information the DHS then mobilizes its large fleet of armored vehicles, and with the assistance of other Government agencies (Who have happened to purchase large amounts of weapons and ammunition lately) go around the country to arrest Tea Party members in their homes thereby neutralizing the threat to the United States.
Once again a Big Country is saved thanks to Big Data.
But according to GE this would never happen.. because all of this Big Data is only going to be used against fictional threats.. like.. say sexy vampires.