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A gun is useless if you don’t have bullets

September 22, 2011

I’ve been fooling around lately with software from the Shogun Project. It’s astonishingly good. I can execute very complex data mining and machine learning algorithms, with a high degree of control, quickly and simply. The latest version adds some very nifty features in the areas of cross-validation and dimension reduction.

Which gets me thinking: much ink has been spilt over the fact that autonomous classification and prediction systems will be the next great mechanism of control wielded by corporations and states against everyone else (their own employees included). Like many control mechanisms, however, this one is quickly going to be co-opted and democratized. The question is: what good will this actually do us?

Leave aside concerns about data collection and data quality. I actually think that’ll be the easiest bit for the masses to handle on their own. My concern is over what kinds of information would prove useful.

What are some use cases for data mining deployed against the information elite? I have one or two ideas, but they aren’t much.

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