When reality looks like last year’s TV-show

I’ve recently discovered a Canadian TV-show from 2012. It’s called Continuum. You can read the summary on wikipedia. In one sentence, it’s about a female cop from the year 2077 which, by fate, gets transported (time-travelled) to 2012, along with a handful of criminals trying to escape their fate.
In the future of the TV-show, North America in 2077 is a Corporatocracy underpinned by a perfect and all-encompassing surveillance system where everything everybody does is constantly recorded – everywhere and at any time – “to keep people honest”.

The TV-show debuted in 2012 but recent events make it look awfully creepy in that I constantly have to think “yeah, they are already doing that. Now”.
The most troubling thought, though, is the one I had just while writing this piece: with all the data that is collected on individual and business communication – would it be possible to predict the future? At least, on a large scale?
As you know, Google often “knows” the outcome of elections even before the people have voted – so imagine a system that not only is able to collect all the data that people enter into google, bing, yahoo, Facebook and a dozen more websites, but also sift through the individual communication (email, phone-calls, chat) of the people related to the searches (or unrelated) and combine it with classified data obtained from, ahem, “other sources”.
I don’t know much about “big data” and just the very basics of statistics and probability, yet this strikes me as an incredibly powerful tool – and a weapon with great potential for abuse.
Obviously, one could be pretty sure when to buy or sell stock – but also predict regional conflicts or wars (which in turn is just another angle for the stock-market).

So, it’s 2013 and all your data are belong to us. Or at least, it’s recorded for a couple of days.
But what do we make of it?
Somebody once said that Americans can’t imagine – much less warm-up to anything unless it’s been on TV. It was in the context of the TV-show “24”, that depicted an “African American” president, next to the use of torture to gain intelligence – both now broadly accepted in the US-society.
To a certain extent, this (TV-shows shaping the perception of reality) is also true for Europe.
In this sense, it will take some time and some TV-shows before the truth really sinks in, I’m afraid.

Ah, the truth….
Not this time, though.

Every time you use a car analogy…

…a kitten dies.
I really disrelish car analogies.
Especially in IT.
They are evil. And mostly useless.
Because people who have no grasp of the concept you are trying to explain to them will most likely not understand it with the “help” of a car analogy either but feel even more stupid and belittled!
It’s like saying “Let me break this down to kindergarten-level for you”.

So, think of the kittens!