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Yuval Noah Harari, globally acclaimed author and public intellectual has warned the world about its too much dependence on data-driven technologies. As per him, this could result in data colonialism, which can lead to the creation of monopolistic corporations and tyrant governments.

Addressing the Nasscom Leadership Summit 2022, Harari warned the world of data colonialism, which could be one of the biggest threats to humanity in the future. He said that big data in the form of artificial intelligence and machine learning pose two big challenges to governments and the public alike.

“The two biggest problems with big data are at national and global levels. The danger on the national level is that a few groups—be the governments or large corporate monopolies—may use it to create unequal societies or totalitarian regimes,” he said.

“For the first time in human history, it is possible to follow everybody all the time and to know a person better than the person himself,” he added.

Harari also pointed out that none of the past dictators and tyrants could do this because they did not have the required technologies. According to him, the only way out is to prevent such regimes and situations. He also emphasized that in the 21st century, one country need not send in its soldiers to conquer another nation; all it needs to do is take out the data of its leaders and its people.

“Imagine a situation wherein China or the US has the entire personal records of a country’s politicians, journalists, judges, military leaders and begins to judge them by the jokes they crack and the diseases they struggle with. Then it will no longer be an independent country but a data colony,” Harari said.

“So the way out is to have an equal level of surveillance in a two-way manner. In short, technology should not be allowed to be used to collect data for control but for bettering each one’s lives,” he concluded.

With inputs from PTI

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