n. The use of massive collections of personal data to suggest and optimize behavioural science techniques that subtly encourage people to make better choices in their lives.
These technologies are also becoming increasingly popular in the world of politics. Under the label of “nudging,” and on massive scale, governments are trying to steer citizens towards healthier or more environmentally friendly behaviour by means of a "nudge"—a modern form of paternalism. The new, caring government is not only interested in what we do, but also wants to make sure that we do the things that it considers to be right. The magic phrase is "big nudging", which is the combination of big data with nudging.
Gerd Leonhard: it is clear that the tools and computing power to monitor every data point, every movement, every image, every word and possibly every thought that we have, will exist in the very near future — for all 10 Billion+ people that we may have on earth. Many good things about that, too, but if unchecked this could lead to massive abuse, wide-spread manipulation via digital media and ‘big nudging’, an utterly totalitarian system of perfect monitoring and limitless surveillance.
[Andrej Zwitter:] Big Data growing into International Relations and legal and ethical questions become increasingly important. You can't separate the two. Law tries to model society into an ideal of how to best live together. Ethics tries to achieve the same thing. And now also Big Data provides opportunities for social engineering—called Big Nudging. This is when algorithms determine on the basis of Big Data on which stimuli a group would respond in the desired way. This poses a tremendous problem to the freedom of will.
Cloud storage, Big Data, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars and the Internet of Things (IoT) are just a few of the technological revolutions we have seen recently. In the meantime, big IT companies and ‘smart nations’ attempt to steer societies in a certain direction. This process can involve the manipulation of people’s opinions, decisions and behaviours by ‘big nudging’ based on ‘(super)intelligent’ computer systems using large amounts of personal data.