In Hardt and Negri's seminal writing, Postmodernization, the authors described the digital area as a paradigm in which "providing services and manipulating information are at the heart of economic production." We can see this play out when thinking of the most successful and dominant players in today's market - Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, etc. Each of these firms provides services (and sometimes product goods) which connect nods (that would normally be disparate) to create more customized experiences. Things connected to other things. Things connected to people. People connected people. Digital facilitates the network which connects nods that otherwise would be disconnected and data is the oil which lubricates these networks. Today's dominating technology extracts the data we passively shed in our day-to-day actions -- research, communications, movement, consumption, commerce -- to optimize our day-to-day lives, helping us make better decisions through the benefit of collective intelligence. Make no mistake, this is not without its tradeoffs, of course. Just like anything else, there are both positive and negative consequences to these technologies and their ability to "provide services and manipulate information." That said, here is one of the coolest examples I've seen lately where data was used to lubricate the network and provide utility to the people.
Ever visited a city and wondered "where should we eat?" In most cases, you try to avoid the chain restaurants because the Olive Garden in NYC is likely the same as the Olive Garden back home. Instead, we venture to fully experience the culture of that city through the tapestry of its cuisine. You know, eat like the locals. We consult Yelp and curated lists from blogs to find the best places to dine in the city. But what if we could use the data people shed as a proxy to find the best spots based on where the people actually go? Apparently, the folks at Crimson Hexagon -- an AI-powered, social listening technology company -- wondered the same thing. To illuminate this curiosity, Crimson used its platform to identify the most popular foods and drinks in New York City on Instagram according to the use of associated hashtags. They gathered the posts containing those tags in the five boroughs over a period of time and visually represented where the true 'hot spots' are in the city.
Full transparency, Crimson Hexagon is both a close colleague and friend of mine. That said, it does not bias how cool this active truly is. Check it: