Response: The Digitization of Just About Everything

So this week’s reading was very interesting in the sense that I was able to relate the content and examples of the article with lessons from another class. In “Cyberwarfare”, the other class I am taking, we have discussed how users are unexpectedly always providing data to businesses such as Facebook or Netflix when we are using their products. I feel like the same is happening with Waze. In order to have a better experience, as it says in the article, more people have to use it, since the app has to record date and time and therefore can reuse the log once another person makes the same trip. I know this data gathering from people is for a positive use as shown in the Waze example, but I would be careful since privacy invasion is also a significant matter these days and giving your information to navigator apps like Waze also could expose yourself to anyone who wants to track you down.

In the second part, to see digitization in an economic perspective, I get the author’s point, and it is certainly true that digitization has made our lives much more convenient in numerous methods. However, I do think that the author is too positive about this change, and I have a few reasons on why I politely disagree with this notion.

To begin with, digitization also means that any sort of data can be pirated. This is extremely harmful in the cases of starting musicians or artists who want to make cash by selling their work online. It is cool if I share my pdf book file to Hank, but to do that for free? If I pay and he doesn’t, but I still share it to him because he is my friend, the author gets half the price of the book in the real world. Currently, torrenting has become a huge problem in our modern society, especially in terms of copyright claims and what not. I think, in that sense, there are still perks as to why keeping some objects in the physical world might be more safe.

Similarly, data breaches are also very dangerous. This ties to the first argument, but I want to talk more about subjects such as finance or personal information. Let’s look at finance, for example. If I have my money in a bank or a safe, it will be arduous for a robber to steal my money. Even if they do, chances are I will use CCTV cameras or fingerprint scanning, even collecting hair in the suspected areas to go on to find who the suspect is. However, cyber-security is not as developed yet, and in the cyber world it is way harder for police to digitally track down someone. This of course, leads to individuals getting away and even sometimes groups of people working for nations, as we have seen in the Russian hacking of elections a few years ago.

Overall, I like the concept of the article and it has taught me new things that I previously did not know, but I wish the author put in the opposite perspective’s views, especially in terms of how digitization can be disruptive and negative so that we should always be cautious but it can still be beneficial if used correctly. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be too much negative connotation that can provide alert and warning to the readers, which I personally believe is very significant.

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