Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Another Donnamazing post #AceMustRead


1ahappy12Everyday in the media and social media I hear about happiness.

Happiness Projects,
Happiness Quotients,
Happiness Index,
Gross National Happiness,
polls, songs, quotes…
what’s with all the happiness?

Is wretchedness and melancholy really that out of style?

Where are the memes celebrating the drudgery of everyday life?

Where are all the T-shirts promoting doom and gloom?

If happiness is sooooo easy why does everyone have to be constantly reminded to be happy?

When did we become so obsessed with measuring and quantifying happiness? When it became big business, that’s when. I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately so I was drawn to The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold us Well-Being by William Davies(Verso). I felt the book was overly academic, like I needed a degree in something to understand it, but it did have some fascinating, logical, brilliant, and disturbing points about how…

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TECH REPORT: ‘ How Valuable do your think your Personal Data is – when you Monetise it – or are you a Commodity of Sorts ‘

#AceNewsDesk – Tech Report – June.04: I recently put a post on Ace News Room simply called ‘ One Day We Will All Come a Commodity of Sorts

This post by Telegraph Technology takes this one step further – so l chose it to highlight – HOW & WHY we end up as a Commodity of sorts.

How valuable do you think your personal data is? This week Apple chief executive Tim Cook made a thinly-veiled attack on Google, Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants that lull their customers "into complacency about their personal information" by attempting to monetise individuals’ data and as Rhiannon Williams found out, people are not aware.

"I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information," he said. "They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetise it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be."

His comments have been widely interpreted as a swipe at Google Photos, a new app the search engine giant revealed at its I/O developers conference last week. The service offers customers unlimited photo storage across multiple devices for free in one easily accessible place, and uses advanced recognition algorithms to categorise your images as of cats, specific people or via location. It then organises them into collages, collections and animations to share with family and friends via link, or straight onto Facebook and Twitter.

It’s an incredibly slick, not to mention alluring prospect. But is handing Google the keys to thousands of your pictures – and realms of new metadata on you, your habits and lifestyle – a trade-off worth making? Not according to Cook. It is Apple’s belief, he continued, that the customer should be in full control of their own information. "You might like these so-called free services, but we don’t think they’re worth having your email, your search history and now even your family photos data mined and sold off for god knows what advertising purpose. And we think some day, customers will see this for what it is."

Will Cook’s words be enough to stop millions of eager users signing up to Google Photos? Probably not. As all eyes prepare to turn towards San Francisco for Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, it’ll be interesting to see if Apple plan on making any more digs at their fellow tech rivals. There’s an old adage along the lines of if you’re not paying for it, you are the product.

No one likes to think of themselves as a faceless commodity, but when the very companies Cook is criticising present their services as convenient, simple and – above all – free, the question of what price you’re willing to pay becomes a lot less clear.

This week’s Technology briefing was written by Rhiannon Williams.


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