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People talk about “Big Data” a lot. By the way, your mom’s name is data.
Sorry, let me start over. With the advent of the digital world, we’re able to create and track substantially more touchpoints that ever before. Basically, each and every person contributes information to relevant databases, which are then used to process useful insights. For instance: you know how your phone knows if traffic is bad? All the suckers ahead of you have phones and other devices that are tracking their speed. If a whole lot of them are grouped together and going slowly, that’s what’s called a traffic jam.
Using data to glean insights has benefitted us in myriad ways. We found Viagara because people in an experimental blood pressure medicine program kept getting boners. Wal-Mart used big data to find that ahead of hurricanes, sales of Pop Tarts go up exponentially. OKCupid found that the majority of first dates in the northeastern United States are at Subway, confirming that no person from that region has anything resembling taste.
In a newfangled twist, Uber is going to be using the data of its passengers to have a new classification: drunk. Uber just filed for a new patent, and this shit is hilarious.
The patent imagines a world where you might stumble out of a bar at 2 a.m. and the app will be able to know if you are drunk based on the angle you’re holding your phone, how you are walking and how you are interacting with the app compared to other times you’ve used it.
Just imagine it. Swaying back and forth, closing one eye like a pirate to accurately type in your address leaning a little too far over, because you’re holding your phone differently, probably walking in zigzags across the Little Helsinki neighborhood after the Darkthrone cover show. It’s magnificent, but at the same time, hey, fuck you, Uber.
What I’m doing is my own business and I don’t need you advertising to your drivers that I’m not going to notice that they’re taking me the long way around town. And I really don’t feel like anyone having a record of my drinking habits. Everyone has a bad day and needs to go blow off some steam at lunch every once in a while, but if you’re looking at it as just a data point, it’s just gonna say that person was drunk at 3 p.m. on a weekday. Kiss my ass with that.
Furthermore, that’s a massive misallocation of resources. Let me tell you how you know that I’m drunk when using Uber: I’m using Uber. If I was sober, I’d just be driving my own fucking self.
Anyway, this is just another really good reason to take the bus or ride a bike. Don’t let these technocrats win. Keep your data to yourself. .