excerpt from book: "Everyone is familiar with the iconic image, from Orwell's 1984, of a totalitarian government that watches its citizens from telescreens. The ominous phrase, "Big Brother is watching you," evokes an important thesis of Orwell's masterpiece; that a totalitarian government can use an expansive surveillance system to crush its critics. Lest anyone forget, Orwell's book had a second thesis, that was, in my opinion, more insidious and more disturbing than the threat of governmental surveillance. Orwell was concerned that governments could change the past and the present by inserting, deleting, and otherwise distorting the information available to citizens. In Orwell's 1984, old reports of military defeats, genocidal atrocities, ineffective policies, mass starvation, and any ideas that might foment unrest among the proletariat, could all be deleted and replaced with propaganda pieces. Such truth-altering activities were conducted undetected, routinely distorting everyone's perception of reality to suit a totalitarian agenda. Aside from understanding the dangers inherent in a surveillance-centric society, Orwell [foretold] the dangers inherent with mutable Big Data." [i.e., when archived data that can be deleted, inserted or altered].
"One of the purposes of this book is to describe the potential negative consequences of Big Data, if the data is not collected ethically, not prepared thoughtfully, not analyzed openly, and not subjected to constant public review and correction."
In tomorrow's blog, I'll continue as discussion of mutability and immutability as they pertain to the design and maintenance of Big Data resources.
- Jules Berman
key words: Big Data, Jules J. Berman, Ph.D., M.D., data integrity, data abuse, data revision, dystopia, dystopian society, distortion of reality, big brother mentality, archiving, dystopia, George Orwell, newspeak, persistence, persistent data, saving data, time-stamp, immutable, immutability, privacy, confidentiality, Big Brother
Science is not a collection of facts. Science is what facts teach us; what we can learn about our universe, and ourselves, by deductive thinking. From observations of the night sky, made without the aid of telescopes, we can deduce that the universe is expanding, that the universe is not infinitely old, and why black holes exist. Without resorting to experimentation or mathematical analysis, we can deduce that gravity is a curvature in space-time, that the particles that compose light have no mass, that there is a theoretical limit to the number of different elements in the universe, and that the earth is billions of years old. Likewise, simple observations on animals tell us much about the migration of continents, the evolutionary relationships among classes of animals, why the nuclei of cells contain our genetic material, why certain animals are long-lived, why the gestation period of humans is 9 months, and why some diseases are rare and other diseases are common. In “Armchair Science”, the reader is confronted with 129 scientific mysteries, in cosmology, particle physics, chemistry, biology, and medicine. Beginning with simple observations, step-by-step analyses guide the reader toward solutions that are sometimes startling, and always entertaining. “Armchair Science” is written for general readers who are curious about science, and who want to sharpen their deductive skills.