They're Gathering Untold Amounts of Data About Everything We Do.

Please welcome columnist Trenton Keith. He is a writing and pop culture enthusiast. He's also a sarcastic humorist, a dismal satirist, and frequent user of non-sequiturs.

I once read an article in a place I can't remember, which has since made me think twice before I search for "Alison Brie Memes." The article, from what I recall, was about huge tech companies, and their rivalry to obtain the largest storage of data about their users. Behemoths like Apple and Google have been gathering untold amounts of data about everything we do. These are warehouses of data, storing what we like to eat and what we like to buy on Amazon, or what we ate and what we bought on Amazon last week, or even what other similar people are eating and buying on Amazon, but hopefully not at the same time because there's a hoarders episode about that, probably*.

If this isn't surprising to you, that's because it's been written about quite extensively over the recent years, and has been the cause of much litigation, concerning our privacy and whether the web, in its many forms, is public or not. However, the article continued to say that, at least logistically, there will be a point in time when we will have so much data collected about what we like to eat and what we buy on Amazon that we'll be unable to analyze it with any systems known to us.

It's important to note that this may or may not have happened already.

You're probably a lot smarter than I am if you can wrap your mind around the idea that we will know so much about ourselves, we are unable to make sense of it, or that we have produced a machine so great, we ourselves cannot operate it. We have collectively just invented the telephone but Alexander Graham Bell is dead and now we're screwed. And I know that joke doesn't make a ton of sense but whatever.

Apple and Google** and whoever else are taking everything inside us, our wants and needs and cat jokes, and siphoning, distilling them into metrics. In a way, these indescribable values and thoughts are almost poetic, like when your coffee is just the right temperature when you take the first sip, or like an Alanis Morissette song. Feverish temperaments and opinions and fears and questions. Why are we here? Am I really happy? Why was The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift not immediately hailed as a cinematic masterpiece***? Can we really quantify things like this? Are people aren't meant to be understood like statistics, or are we always becoming something new, something better, and in every different direction?

To quote the beautiful Anais Nin, "We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow partially. We are relative... We are made up of layers, cells, constellations."

Even if we were able to be sorted like that game on The Price is Right, to what end would it be used? I don't know for sure, but here's a shot in the dark:

Mega-conglomerates like the ones in Wall-E are going to own all the space and the air so that we cannot exist without corporate influence. And you'll be able to fly your 2095 Pontiac or whatever hand-me-down car your stepdad gave you when you were old enough to drive, over to the local In N Up Burger (see what I did there) where you'll order the number >**** from an attractive interplanetary window attendant. You'll smile, pop your neon space shirt, and just when you're about to ask, "Hey girl, wanna get some astro java sometime?" your iPhone solar glasses flash crimson with sirens in your ears, "Looking for single christians? Try ChristianMingle.com".

So that joke really exhausted the space humor thing, and it wasn't that creative, but I think that stresses my point.

I personally don't think we're anywhere close to being able to locate organized gorgeousness inside our brains. But I'll seriously give $50 to the first dude who figures out why I love reblogging pictures of double rainbows, or why 15 year-olds love selfies. And then that guy will not only be the lamest person we have ever met, but he'll be $50 richer than he was before. So even though I think it's a shot in the dark, and it might do more harm than good, I do hope Google cashes in enough Ovaltine cans to obtain the cultural decoder ring for all of this data about eating and buying things on Amazon.

And I hope that it helps us in a small way, like when we wake up and feel lonely, or when we go to the grocery store and we secretly love that Miley Cyrus is playing on the overhead PA.


*There's not. I checked.

**It's important to note that I say Google, and not Bing, because Bing sucks real hard. The other day I read a joke where someone said, "We call him Bing. Because nothing is wrong with him, but no one likes him."

*** Rest in Peace, Roger Ebert

****Insert space-numeral here


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