Regaining control of our digital life

Photo by Darlene Alderson on

I’m Paula Santolaya, reporting live from SANTOLIVE in my virtual reality. Have opinions, or suggestions? Post them in the comments section down below or email me at

In the digital universe, humans control very little. Artificial Intelligence is an integral part of our everyday life and makes personal decisions for us such as what to buy, read, watch a movie or vote for a party. This is possible because of algorithms, mathematical formulas that predict our tastes and preferences based on the information that we freely provide on the Internet and, especially, on social media.

It’s an exchange: we share data with big tech companies in exchange for a service. When we register in an application, web or surf the Internet, we provide personal data that is then returned to us in the form of commercial or ideological propaganda.

In other words, algorithms are digital advisors capable of recommending, suggesting and convincing us to take a specific action. But this does not necessarily imply that they offer us the most suitable options, since companies use the algorithms for their own benefit, stealing our data and then selling it to third parties for profit.

Experts and relevant personalities from the digital world have questioned the objectivity and ethics of these computer actions, and consider that the algorithms should be audited. The option of creating the digital ‘right to explanation’ as another right of the consumers is also being considered in order to know, with the greatest possible transparency, why an algorithm has made that decision on our behalf.

Algorithms make our lives easier, but they also condition us. Therefore, it is necessary to guarantee good data governance under consistent ethical principles and develop a legislative framework to prevent an intelligent machine from making decisions that affect people without their human oversight. Without doubt, a border that will have to be crossed if we want the digital transformation to follow the path of ethics and we can regain digital control of our lives.

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