A Dystopian Future? Well not entirely

October 13, 2011 7:45 pm Published by

Somewhere back in the twentieth century, there was a rather pessimistic view of the future. It was a future in which mankind was suppressed and controlled. Controlled through big government and fear. Controlled through drugs and sedation. Or controlled through scary man eating plants. And whilst there is much to suggest that a number of these prophecies are coming to pass, one thing we do seem to be moving further away from is the control of data and ideas.

Thanks to the Open Data / Open Source movements, which are rapidly gathering pace worldwide, there is a vast well of useful information which is about to be dragged to the surface. This will leave us with buckets of really useful data. Data on public services, council data, crime data, healthcare data, school data, ordnance survey data. Buckets of data, swimming pools of data, lakes, seas. Help. I am drowning.

It’s another dystopian nightmare.

Only it isn’t, because there are people already helping to make this data accessible. There are people designing websites and apps. There are people meeting this week in Brighton to discuss how to use this data (http://www.meetup.com/Open-data-Brighton-and-Hove/). There are people announcing Britain’s first ever open data conference (http://opendatacities.wordpress.com/). And soon, when you want to find out about school catchment areas or local crime statistics it will all be there, just a mouse click away. So let’s turn on the data tap and go for a swim.

(……goodness it’s exhausting work laboring a metaphor. I’m off to find some sedatives and watch an episode of Big Brother.)

by the blowfish

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