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The Future of the Save File: Data Under Threat


What will they do with all the data? Data analysis is a fickle tool. Data itself is a highly granular form of information. Different methodologies and representations of data, like any medium, produce information for us to act upon. The border line between art and science in data is murky, much like economics it is an applied field of mathematics. The extent to which marketing agencies are able to drive individual behaviour and emotions is a growing field of research. Studying emotional valence spreading through social networks and its effect on other heavily quantified systems can reveal the scale and ratio of feedback between the two. If that is too abstract consider the weather.

Each year energy demand is beholden to ecological forces. Cold outside, warm inside, and the opposite. This rigidity of cycles when viewed along a time scale allows us to plan for the change to negate risk.

Risk management and insurance act as a save file for humanity. The closest we get to a reset of conditions when something goes wrong. Management of risk is contingent on linking together flows of systems to ensure cycles synchronise; the participants, insurance holders, are given assurances of security should they fall. Orbiting around the mathematical idea of a perfect harmony is the objective for each insurance group. The limits of achieving harmony are accepted out of hand. Unemployment cannot be zero. We cannot eradicate all suffering. A utilitarian view at the macro-level is therefore reliant on a level of resilience to continue. The detachment from viceral empathy is galling for some people, their reaction is hopefully to do more than write about it.

Being able to minimise future risks down towards zero through retrospective analysis is the rational dream of a quantified world. Controlling access to save files creates normative behaviour. To save progress deemed worth saving. If you want to preserve an idea you have to do something quantifiable with that idea. This is not a critique of insurance but an attempt at unravelling of the purpose of its existence. This should not be taken as an advocation for privatising or nationalising services either, as insurance can be held at different scales and with different the redemptions or pay outs, some monetary, some not.

The concept of insurance was not born in the brutalist offices. Joining a religion or political party or society or union can be both insurance for after life and life itself. Only the methods of computing insurance are new and novel, even then only for a short time. Being able to predict or propose a future is within anyone’s imaginative capabilities, this agency is open to all. The spectrum of rational thought is dictated by inputs which are of course the output of something else. Producing and projecting output in effective or efficient ways is dependent on a position within structure. Technology in the physical sense does not always drive the bus, but it cannot be removed completely. Power expressions, actions, are events.


Events are transactional. Something is exchanged, a balance of giving and receiving is composed. Signals of transactions are either interpreted in a share way (correctly) or they’re cast aside as noise. How we expect transactions to unfold vary on our knowledge, perhaps awareness is a better word, of structural positions. For the most cutting edge insurance calculations computation speeds are inhuman. The fractions of time uncovered and made accessible to humans to find a harmony. The best outcome for all; all being rhetorically used to generally signify a group that is not all. Stakeholder and shareholders come in different sizes and receive different forms of insurance. Growing in size of stake and share holdings requires interactions.

There’s a cafe I go to where a man tells me that the customer isn’t always right, in fact most of the time the customer is wrong. I smile and agree, in the context he’s right. This cafe is a warm, welcoming, proud place in the community. You don’t go to loudly talk on a phone, the atmosphere here is different as it is everywhere. First names are used more than once, they’re remembered with gusto and the prospect of ineffable craic. Visit any Lush shop and you will have enthusiastic assistants wanting to please you, there may be chatter but the pace is dictated by a larger machine, people are coming through the door, if you aren’t buying you’re time is limited.

Customs imply a ritual or codified set of practices, treating people with warmth and happiness is not always the offering of a suggestion. These can be different, when you’re merely a consumer what are you but a mouth? When you’re a consumer is there a difference? Consumers are customers stripped of emotion, the rationalised consumer, Other. You’re sparkling individuality of conduct can and is reduced to your receipts.

Stop being so analytic you say, stop deconstructing what makes you unhappy and live with it. Norm-man. Of course authentic experience is open to you in any situation, being present and being aware are both necessary but rarely exclusive. We all have the potential for differing ratios of signal and noise to filter through.When signals are accepted unremittingly we enter the realm of conformity, awareness of conformity does not mean vaccination from it.


We use the notion of free will in our everyday lives, despite being aware that cyclical systems hold the reins. Conducting experiments on conformity and human behaviour is entering a new era with a reinvigorated purpose. On one hand conformity in reaction to events can be tied to economic behaviour. Fringe views are obviously able to run riot in this field of discussion. If we acknowledge but not be cowed by the idea of elites and ‘the powers that be’ are able to exert some control over populations we can negate against the risks. Oh look its 2015 and everyone seems to be loving Bernie Sanders, wait, look at how the structure works. We need to have dissections of how desires are manipulated.

Rhetoric and conformity put into power a terrible outfit. We are going to see more and more barriers to entry for accessing data, more data will be faked, more obfuscation will occur and it will be told to you as fact. But we cannot lose the ability to build on these systems ourselves. Projections of soft power will now be significantly different to the last eight years. The gags placed on scientific research in public institutions shut off agency in combatting climate change, but they’re just the start.

Power in the White House is now Leninist. Skilled minds have been put to work producing more sales, more conversions, more clicks. Current methods of paying the bills will now feed a destructive force. We’re going to see how the companies that emerged to provide superficial solace can survive and change in a climate they’re uncomfortable with. By working with public data out of fear for its destruction progressives (in the mainstream social sense) are being taught the value of conservativism. Ultimately we want to have the edge of time cut us nicely. Being able to have our comfort levels met sustainably and constantly is what we insure ourselves for, in the hope those times will not leave for long. Insurance against authoritarians please.