The Pros in the News: Big Data vs. Small Everything Else
January 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
Today, President Obama in a big-deal speech announced the end of the NSA’s overreaching phone and internet surveillance on American citizens.
Kind of. A little bit. Like, if you spin around 10 times and squint just right and summon the LSD-infused ghost of J. Edgar Hoover to perform some truthiness-judo on the tiny part of your wheezing, sickly brain that still understands ideas that don’t sound like Buzzfeed headlines.
Out the door is the NSA’s massive metadata database role-playing game (MMD²BRPG). No more will the NSA spy on foreign leaders like Angela Merkel in the shower unless there is sufficient steam as to obstruct the view of their naughty bits. And on and on. And while some privacy-obsessed wingnuts like Edward Snowden might raise a stink about what this means for the future of our civil liberties in the age of electronic surveillance, I know you all have only one question on your mind: What does this mean for my upcoming comic book, The Pros?
Well, good things, clearly, or I wouldn’t be writing you like this.
The Pros, if you haven’t seen the tagline yet, is a spy story for the Big Data age, and despite outward appearances, today’s announcements are a slam dunk for the future of Big Data. The ideology of collecting all of the information first and figuring out how to use it second remains in tact. All that changes is the implementation, and even that changes in a direction towards The Pros.
The Pros deals with the convergence between Big Data and Small Everything Else—the obsession with efficiency over ideology (or efficiency as ideology) that has come to redefine everything from “disruptive” startup practices to advanced sports analytics. Obama’s announcement today acknowledges what The Pros takes as a given: the NSA is the intelligence equivalent of an aircraft carrier, bloated and behemothic. Whatever will emerge on the other side of Obama’s shakeup will be like a drone strike: smaller and more nimble, but every bit as deadly. And in Buzzy’s case, even kind of cute.
Caught in the middle of Big Data and Small Everything Else is the moral responsibility of the individual, another main theme of The Pros. Edward Snowden fired the first shot on that front. Who’s next?