A very good talk expounding on the power of algorithms and machines they run on: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120528-how-algorithms-shape-our-world. Talks about finance, predictive algorithms and the like. It touches upon the ominous reality of such algorithms, they are becoming powerful enough to outstrip human intervention. I've known this for a while since I loosely track the world of algorithmic trading.
Now to respond to some of the discussion.
Eh, I didn't find it terribly thought-provoking. A lot of it is common sense, and all the issues around online privacy are already being questioned at every possible practical, ethical, and legal level. You omitted the paragraph directly above the one in your quote, which paints that prediction in the context of accidental or hacking-related incidents. So it's not like they are saying in the future your online activities will be transparent, just that the more you do online, the more potential it is for someone to (unethically) expose it. And well, that's a thing of the present, really. Sure, as technology progresses even further it might become even more widespread and reach its tendrils into more aspects of our private lives, but it's not a yet-to-materialized issue.
The name of the game here is automation. With advances in technology (thanks Moore's Law), it is becoming easier to write scripts and software to automate tasks which were done manually. For instance, and I might be wrong here, some of the software breaking the first captchas came in not long after the captchas themselves came out. In such a scenario, information of the state-of-the-art of the 'enemy' is essential. The point here is also that there is a huge dissonance between what people consider secure and what is actually secure. Most of the fancy hacking is really nothing but poor security or someone lucking out after trying a '1234' password. I remember reading an article once about how people choose very common attributes for their passwords (their own names, or some permutation thereof, and others) and how these comprise a large number of passwords out there.
Like, just no. When it comes to news, Twitter and other social media venues are CRAWLING with rumors, misinformation, lies, predictions/estimates passed as truth, unreliable sources, inconsistency, etc. Even if you have the attention span of a goldfish or have a thing for 2-sentence posts written in teenage-speak, you simply are not going to get great information. Most big news organizations already have extensive websites, and most of them get updated in virtually real time as information comes in about stories. The difference (with any decent one) is, they fact check. Sources are listed, unconfirmed information is cited as such, and a layer of professionalism comes on top of it all. Trustworthy, single-point-of-entry organizations have incredible value. Plus, in-depth articles and analyses will never be replaced by rapid Tweets, and those also get written fast enough to still count as "breaking news." So yeah, I think this one was full of shit…
This I agree with completely. Some of the idiotic rumors floating around on Twitter-verse in the immediate aftermath of major events (think of the poor Indian student who was 'implicated' shortly after the Boston bombing) is cringe-worthy at best, libellous at worst.
I actually think the only item on the list that was actually interesting was the prediction that online privacy would be taught in schools just like sex ed. I don't know if I actually envision that happening as a formal curriculum so to speak, but the topic does touch on a lot of important issues like privacy, harassment, and breaking the law, all of which show up in school lessons sometime or another.
Again, I agree. If not a part of the curriculum, everyone should invest some time into getting some knowledge of some basic security safeguards one can take to protect their privacy and personal information.
How are gonna keep track of all that information, though?
I can see if you're doing things like hacking or collecting CP, but there's no reason to follow most of us here on the internet.
As I wrote earlier, with increasing raw processing power and storage capacity, automated algorithms and scripts can easily keep track of your movements online passively and create a digest of "Cruithne's top hits". Email clients already passively go through your email, search engines track your search history and browsers track your browsing history. Right now they do it to display the best fit ads to you. But with services like Google Now, which uses this information to intelligently predict data to show to you on your smartphone home screen, it can be argued that online programs are getting sophisticated enough to do more with your information.
It does sound a little creepy.