Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rights of the Modern Age

Our world just keeps on changing and with all of these changes we must keep on updating and asserting our basic human rights. To this end I suggest a couple of new rights that I think we all possess:

We own the intellectual property rights to all our interactions with the world. That is, if we buy something from a store, we own and control any data generated from that interaction which includes us as individuals. The store can own any data that shows they sold a bunch of stuff to a collection of anonymous people, but if that data singles anyone out, in any way or shape, then that person owns it. That right not only includes stores but governments and healthcare as well, in fact any and all interactions that we have as we creatively engage with the world around us. If it is specifically about a person then clearly they should own the rights to it and it can't be used or even collected without their explicit consent.

Given that science seeks to enlighten us with their research, we own the right to not accept anything they say unless they also present the raw, unedited data that they gathered to back up their analysis. I don't want to see or hear about any work unless the process to compile it was completely transparent. If the data really shows what their analysis claims it shows, then they will have no problems releasing two things: the paper explaining the analyse and any data (including unused data) that was gathered to investigate the claim. Given the increasing sophistication of mathematical approaches for extracting conclusions from data, any claim presented without data should be considered untrustworthy and quite possibly propaganda designed to obscure rather than the clarify the underlying truth. Papers without data should not be considered 'scientific works'. Science is about discovering the truth, not about making one's career.

We all own the right to be different. We are all unique and should value this. Diversification is a key strength of our species so we shouldn't be alike, think alike or follow blindly. Any person, organization or process that is attempting to 'clean up our differences' is not acting in our best interests. They are violating our fundamentals rights to be different and to remain that way forever. A homogeneous world is just one sad shade of grey; we know this and all need to incorporate it into our philosophies of getting along together. Different is good, even if it can be annoying at times.

That's it for now but I'm sure as the next wave of madness hits us I'll figure out some other basic tenets of existence.