Is it possible to create a duplicate of a person based only on their online data?
The story of the documentary is rounded off by an experiment where the authors reconstructed the events of her life, her past feelings and mental states, based on the information that the young woman Lisa left online. They analyzed more than 100 files with more than 100,000 data points and created Lisa’s double.
This experiment proves that online data alone is sufficient to identify an individual’s interests, personality characteristics, opinions and thoughts, and that it is possible to predict or even manipulate people’s behavior based on this data.
Our digital footprints
One of the forms of a digital footprint is data that we consciously leave online, e.g. when we post an image or post on our social networks.
A much more important trace that betrays our inner world, and feelings and thoughts are represented by search terms that we type into the Google search engine. Data about our behavior is also recorded by many applications that have built-in trackers.
“Even though we consciously choose not to use social networks, but still have a mobile phone with apps, it is very likely that Google, Facebook, Amazon,Microsoft collects data about us,” he says Frederike Kaltheurneran expert in artificial intelligence.
Google, which controls almost 90% of the web, has complete insight into our lives. “Google has a history of all our searches since we’ve had an account, unless we’ve turned it off. He knows the places we’ve been if we were looking for a way with our phone, videos we watched on YouTube. It’s scary,” he says Eliot Bendinelli, privacy advocate.
The more we use the web, the more this algorithm knows where we are, what we eat, what makes us happy, what makes us sad.
Google is now selling the data it collected for 20 years to marketers so they can target customers in great detail based on e.g. their age, gender, income, age of their children or based on their browsing history, explains Patrick Berlinquette, a marketer at Google, who also came up with a way to use Google Ads and its algorithms to help people who are depressed or suicidal. When browsing for certain keywords, such as “I’m going to kill myself, I’m going to shoot myself…”, the user is shown ads with a helpline.
The documentary is definitely worth watching because, in addition to revealing some basic concepts of how today’s digital world works, the viewer is also invited to consider whether it is really a good idea to hand over so much power to a multinational company that can use artificial intelligence to decide, what will our society look like and what decisions will users make.