Big data is a retroactive sensor.

When we talk about big data, we tend only to be looking forward.
Forwarded to the time when smart connected sensors are spewing out loads of data exhaust.
Big data then comes along, sucks it all up and give you some intelligent insight that just is not humanly possible to come up with…..

That right there is the guts of this article.

But right at the bottom is a real gem that caught me off guard…..

Image recognition and interpretation — let alone video analysis — is a Very Hard Problem, and it may take decades before we can say, “Computer, review these two tapes and tell me what’s different about them” and get a useful answer in plain English. But that day will come — computers have already cracked finding cats in online videos.

When that day arrives, every video we’ve shot and uploaded — even those from a decade ago — will be a kind of retroactive sensor. We haven’t been very concerned about being caught on camera in the past because our behavior is hidden by the burden of reviewing footage. But just as yesterday’s dumpster-diving and wiretaps gave way to today’s effortless surveillance of whole populations, we’ll realize that the sensors have always been around us.

Once we get to the tipping point of big data, where it can freely pick through all the video footage it wants with speed and ease, then the ‘noise’ of forgotten history will be cracked wide open…..
What will be revealed?
Clues or even solid answers on murders, crimes and events of the past, that have been both forgiven and forgotten will be dredged up. Cold cases, long moved on from by an overloaded police force will be gladly feed into the AI machine and patterns never before considered will provide new insight and lines of investigation……

What privacy will be possible when your past life is as open as the mistakes of youth permitted?

It never occurred to me that big data could move backwards in time just as easily as it can predict patterns in the future.

Thats a pretty sobering thought.