Frederic Filloux recently weaved a tale of how Generation Y could be negatively impacted by the privacy sacrificed by participating in social media like Facebook. He writes, “Denver, Colorado, spring 2018. Tina is now 24. She’s finishing her law degree at Colorado State University… While Tina had her share of downs, she also has her ups. Living in Denver she never missed an opportunity to go hiking, mountain biking, or skiing — except when she had to spend 48 gruesome hours in the dark, alone with a severe migraine. But she remains fit, and she likes to record her sports performances on health sites — all connected to Facebook — and compare with friends. Seattle, winter 2020. In a meeting room overlooking the foggy Puget Sound, Alan Parsons, head of human resources at the Wilson, McKenzie & Whitman law firm holds his monthly review of the next important hires. Parsons is with Marcus Chen, a senior associate at Narrative Data Inc., both are poring over a selection of resumés.”

FIlloux continues, “Tina Porter’s resumé popped up thanks to LinkedIn Expert, the social network’s high-end professional service. LinkedIn, too, developed its own technology to data-mine resumés for specific competences… Narrative’s Marcus Chen does the pitch: ‘Tina Porter, 26. She’s what you need for the transpacific trade issues you just mentioned, Alan. Her dissertation speaks for itself, she even learned Korean…’ He pauses. ‘But?…’ Asks the HR guy. ‘She’s afflicted with acute migraine. It occurs at least a couple of times a month. She’s good at concealing it, but our data shows it could be a problem,’ Chen said.”

He adds, “I stop here. You might think I’m over the top with this little tale. But the (hopefully) fictitious Narrative Data Inc. could be the offspring of existing large consumer research firms, combined to semantic and data-mining experts such as Recorded Future. This Gothenburg (Sweden)-based company — with a branch in… Cambridge, Mass. –  provides real time analysis of about 150,000 sources (news services, social networks, blogs, government web sites). The firm takes pride in its ability to predict a vast array of events (see this Wired story).”

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Image: Courtesy Facebook