Ethics thoughts on how Big Tech uses our data to drive us to consume

A few weeks back I wrote in Random Friends and the Matrix Reloaded about how dangerous it is to blindly trust a source like the Internet

How aware are we when it comes to the ethical dilema on how the information that is being shared by us online through social networks? How is this information used by Big Tech to drive us to consume? One of millions of examples is Google sourcing keywords from our conversations in Gmail to then target us with ads. Facebook has been doing it for a while now by merging our chat/inboxes and using our status to keep record of our conversations and use keywords there to display those little banners on the right side of our screen.

Not too long ago I posted something on Facebook about my scooter being broke and hours later I had an ad about a company that buys and sells scooters in Bangalore. If you would be messaging a person or a group of friends let´s say planning a vacation to Cancún, eventually these people will be spammed with flights, hotels, restaurants, etc in Cancún… group marketing.

It´s basically like if someone went through your correspondence or bills to know what you talk about or spend on, to then come to your door to sell you something they know you are certainly interested in somehow. Quite dangerous I think, perhaps someday I´ll write with detail about all those dirty online marketing secrets.

My Economics Professor in Milan, told us repeatedly: “You people are stupid…” (the first time we looked at each other in class offended about what the old man was saying to us, but then he continued)… “But I am stupid as well, the only difference is that I know it… and you people don´t”. I think in the era of consumerism 2.0, although it is difficult to escape, the least we can do is being informed about it.

Anyway, the point was just to illustrate an example in which marketing drives us into consumerism (and how much I admire Prof. Fabio Sdogati), which for me is always a conflict because in one side I am idealist thinking in equality, sustainability, social welfare, etc and on the other I am a marketer and I live from it. I am a trained corporate slut, as I declared myself here some time ago.

I spent the last three days in the hospital for a minor incident and while recovering (and perhaps high on medicaments) I was thinking if people in the pharma industry feel sorry about the fact that their business is more successful whenever people are injured or sick and require medical equipment or medicines. People in the finance sector wishing markets to crash to profit from it?

I was talking recently to a friend working in the HR department of a bank who told me about trustworthy employees being fired and treated like criminals. What about military contractors wishing a country to go to war to grow their business? And the construction companies happy about it for the reconstruction that will come afterwards.

Is working by helping poor or uneducated kids, the handicapped, the victims of abuse, etc the only ways in which one can feel ethically satisfied for doing something that is purely and entirely good?

I would love to hear about it… (no sarcasm, I really mean it), but now it´s time for some more painkillers and continue with my recovery…

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Mexican blogger living abroad and writing about experiences of traveling around México, Italy, India and Spain.


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  1. I think people have entirely lost their capability to feel sorry. Specially the war and pharma industry. It seemed to me the other day that you were underestimating HR or implying it was a ‘light’ job. Maybe in the past, but try to do HR when the people you work with are no longer humane, voluntarily making themselves just resources. Bueno bueno!! Aliviate.

  2. =)

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