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Welcome to Digital Empowerment 101. By the end of this article, you will have learned how to harness your personal data to regain your financial freedom and live the life you've always dreamed of.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for enrolling in Digital Empowerment 101.
By the end of this session, you will have learned how to harness your personal data to regain your financial freedom and live the life you've always dreamed of.
To start, turn to the person next to you. Tell them your name, age and hometown.
Congratulations. You've just flushed $50 (€44) down the toilet.
Understand the value of your data
Rule one of Digital Empowerment 101: Never give your information away for free.
Sold as a bundle, your name, age and hometown are currently valued at approximately one small home appliance.
As part of your first assignment, you will head to a department store of your choice. As you browse the kitchen section, brace yourself for the advance of a beaming sales assistant.
Based on our cutting-edge research, there is a statistically significant chance that you will be asked a variant of the question: "May I help you?"
This is a trick that big corporations use to engineer the balance of power in their favor. Resist all impulses to answer.
Instead, select the blender, coffee machine or soup maker of your choice and proceed to the cash desk.
When your item has been scanned, look the cashier in the eye and say: "Julie, 54, Brattleboro, Vermont." You must deliver this information in a calm, matter-of-fact manner.
If you are asked to verify your payment option, it is enough to produce a national ID card or a photograph of you looking at home at a local fete.
If you would like extra store credit, lean in and reveal your monthly income. It is important to deliver this information in a whisper to prevent third parties from accessing your personal information.
Heed volatility cycles!
Like all currencies, the value of your data can fluctuate.
To assess your personal net worth, take a moment to look inward.
Are you deeply insecure, easily swayed and highly impulsive? If so, you could rank among the highest net worth individuals in the world.
If you are dissatisfied with your love life, career and appearance, and have a history of frivolous spending, your personal data could rank in the top one percentile in terms of wealth potential.
Do not give it away too easily! Please put on your headphones now and watch the interchange playing on your screens. Bear in mind that the individuals in these scenarios are paid actors.
Scene one: Woman enters jewelry store.
Store assistant: How may I help?
Woman: Ignores question and selects diamond-encrusted watch.
Store assistant: Cash or card?
Woman: I hate my nose.
Store assistant: Can you verify that payment?
Woman: Last night, I Googled plastic surgeons in my area.
Store assistant: Great, thank you. Have a nice day!
Scene two: Man enters car dealership.
Man: I'd like to test drive a Ferrari.
Car dealer: No problem. I'll just need a small deposit.
Man: I'm having a midlife crisis.
Car dealer, looking smug as he hands over keys: Enjoy the drive. Please be back within 20 minutes.
In the first example, the woman correctly assesses the value of her data as equivalent to a high-end piece of jewelry.
In the second, the man vastly underestimates his value and pays for a test drive what could have bought him the Ferrari itself.
Evaluating the algorithms
These examples demonstrate the importance of attaining financial literacy.
In the next session, we will share tips on how to spot and respond to real-life data miners.
We'll show you how telling your hairdresser about your holiday plans is worth at least a blow-dry, and how to frame the story of your messy breakup to ensure your taxi driver delivers you to the door with no further charge.
Thank you for attending this class. Based on our research, your participation suggests that you may also be interested in "Cynicism for Beginners," "How to stay moderate in a world of extremism" and "Advanced Digital Detox."
Thank you and goodbye.