Why People Should Be Able To Own & Sell Their Data | John Robb on Below the Line with James Beshara

Check out the Below the Line Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • There are 4 layers of social decision-making:
    • Tribalism: the common narrative people tell themselves about what makes their tribe special and binds them
    • Nationalism: the bureaucracies of governments and corporations that keep people in the country working together
    • Markets: Markets (people) select their leaders in elections
    • Networks: A selective group manipulates the markets for its own interests
  • China is using its network technology to control its citizens. They can delete any online message that they dislike, stop you from leaving the country, prevent you from getting a load, and can make people disappear. 
    • “Anything you say can be censored out…you can be completely manipulated in a way that makes you ineffective as a functional human being” – John Robb
  • If people could monetize their data, it would be a win-win situation because people would earn extra income and the government could use the data to track the spread of the coronavirus and the health of the population

Intro

Books Mentioned

About John Robb

  • John was an Air Force pilot, part of Special Ops for 5 years. He then got an MBA from Yale, and became an internet analyst and reported on the very first social media platforms

Decision-Making Layers

  • There are 4 layers of social decision-making:
    • Tribalism: the common narrative people tell themselves about what makes their tribe special and binds them
      • “It tells us who we are, why we work together, it tells us that we can trust the other people that we’re living with”  – John Robb
    • Nationalism: the bureaucracies of governments and corporations that keep people in the country working together
      • “Nationalism…accepted a variety of people under its banner, it’s an improvement”
    • Markets: Markets (people) select their leaders in elections
    • Networks: A selective group manipulates the markets for its self-interest
      • This is the newest decision-making layer 
        • A small network of people was able to get Donald Trump elected President of the US
  • “Cohesion is a required thing for group decision making. It allows us to make coherent decisions and we’re suffering, to some extent, nationally due to a loss of that tribal layer..as we globalize.” – John Robb
  • China is using its network technology to control the people in its country. They can delete any online message that they dislike, stop you from leaving the country, prevent you from getting a load, and make you disappear. 
    • “Anything you say can be censored out…you can be completely manipulated in a way that makes you ineffective as a functional human being” – John Robb
      • The US is more of a market level, it tries to find the right solution and get consensus behind it

Consensus Vs. Dissent

  • When there’s a decision to be made, there are two parties that are formed:
    • Consensus: the people who support the idea
    • Dissent: the people who oppose a prevailing idea 
  • The consensus isn’t always right. Back in January, China and the WHO reported that there was no human-to-human spread of COVID-19 but that was false
    • Another example: Many government officials were telling people to continue their daily lives while the people who were encouraging the public to stay home and stock up on food were seen as paranoid 
  • When people don’t trust the information they’re getting, they often ignore everything that’s said
    • “Without that kind of trust, you can’t formulate the coherent decision” – John Robb

Thoughts on COVID-19  

  • Countries, where the population was mostly 30 years or younger, had fewer deaths than those with an older population
  • Since people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic for some time, it made it hard to detect and contain the virus
  • About 60-70% of the US population voluntary followed social-distancing guidelines without government action
  • The US government is excellent at extracting money from its citizens, but when it came time to give people their $1,200 check, they were absolutely clueless on how to do it
  • The US government also wasn’t prepared for a modern-day pandemic
    • “Our planned response to the pandemic, the thing that we spent decades planning for, was based on an old-style, a very slow world, a world of the 1980s. And it wasn’t built for this kind of hyper-connected world.” John Robb
      • Similarly, the US government did a bad job in the 2008 financial crisis
        • “There were incredible amounts of fraud going on and nobody went to jail” 
          • Additionally, all of the bailout money went to banks instead of the people
            • “The system lost a ton of legitimacy”

People Should Own Their Data

  • It would be easy for a big tech company to create an app to track the spread of the coronavirus, but people don’t trust tech company because they have been mining people’s data for years
    • People also don’t trust the government because of the Patriot Act and other privacy concerns
  • Companies treat data like is valueless even though it’s one of the most valuable assets
    • People should be able to own their data and decide if they want to sell it 
      • “Any information that’s gathered on you, if it’s not sold by you or you don’t authorize it is theft” – John Robb
  • If people could monetize their data, it would be a win-win situation because people would earn extra income and the government could use the data to track the spread of the coronavirus and the health of the population
    • “It would be far more productive to get everyone together, government and corporate bureaucracy, to build an app that could make this happen and it would have to income this kind of payment”John Robb
      • Whether the coronavirus will kill 1% of people or .1%, we still need to overcome it
        • “Obviously there is something serious here and we have to solve it”

Additional Notes

  • Trump got elected President not by talking about policies, but by talking about what was wrong in America
  • The US has faced 3 major network challenges:
    • The first was international terrorism
      • A small group of people was able to hijack a few planes and cause a have a huge negative impact
    • The second was the financial crisis
      •  The greed of the few almost destroyed the economy for everyone
    • The coronavirus is the third
      • It shut down travel and the economy
Below the Line : , , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

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