Having been a part of “geek” culture for quite some time, it has been a true revelation to see the “geekification” of our entire society in the last few years. Instead of seeing the negative connotations associated with the term, I chose to see what separated us geeks from the crowd: we loved data.
Data was how we made up our mind before rolling a D-20 die. Data was how we collected information before entering a conversation about Star Wars vs. Star Trek. Data even informed us of how colossally ridiculous it was to ask the head cheerleader to prom.
Today, it would be even more ridiculous to ignore the impact data has on our lives today. Not a day goes by where a news organization is touting the advancements in an industry because of data. We are hacking our bodies, our jobs, our kids, and our social lives due largely to the data we collect and how many useful tools utilize it.
Take this article in The Atlantic. A Cornell graduate physics student took his girlfriend to her first heavy metal concert and decided to hang back and watch the mosh pit instead of joining the fray as usual. He was able to see the method to the madness and relished an opportunity to analyze how such an organization of bodies and chaos begins and ends. Turns out, the movement of bodies in a mosh pit behave eerily similar to the statistical description of gas molecules interacting.
You don’t say.
Please don’t be afraid of the collection of this data. Yes, there are times when we don’t want the entire world to know something, but those are just moments for prudence with Facebook. Most of the time, data that people want to collect is meant to better our lives. Live longer and healthier, collaborate more easily, even share information better. All of these things are possible and more, if we embrace data and what it can do for us.