Earlier I was musing on a kind of digital karma. Basically the idea started off with how we could predict our futures. Oddly enough, there are a lot of business interests who would love to know the answer to this, too. If so, one's particular tendencies could be tweaked at just the right moments to influence a purchasing decision one way or another. What is needed to figure that out? Digital karma. The question is if someone has their entire life online (via FaceBook, Twitter, cell phone, etc.) how much of the persons life could be captured and collated into a predictive pattern?
Karma as we understand it has several meanings and aspects. The general understanding is that it is a law of cause and effect. You do something and it causes something else to happen. Something happens and it causes you to react. If we want to dive a bit deeper we can get into co-dependent origination, written on at length by Nagarguna in his "Middle Way Sutras". In any case what you end up with is a mind-driven chain of events, created by the forces of attraction, repulsion and doing things the way we've always done them. In Indian literature, these events are said to be recorded by "beings" called Lipika's, or scribes into the Akashic records, where everything is stored. In Christian literature they are referred to as "recording angels".
I thought I saw something like that on a commercial for Cisco (networking products) the other night. They referred to it as "the cloud".
Ok, there's a mashup for you. So let's go back over that. You have the Akashic Records and you have "The Cloud". Hmmmm. That's something to think about. It is also a great segue into the main piece of speculation.
If all of your data, all of your purchases, and a significant number of your interactions with others are stored in this cloud, doesn't this allow someone with sufficiently capable software and hardware to construct a virtual image of you? Could this "image" model your thoughts, attitudes and behaviors well enough to form predictive models?
This, in a way is reminiscent of the movie "Minority Report" which imposed prison sentences on people for acts that have not taken place, but are statistically very likely, based on predictive analysis. This is just one possible scenario. One could imagine it being used for credit reporting (your credit score does this already), family planning (are you going to be able to raise your kid right...if not, forget having the baby...you're not qualified) and even choosing a mate. That would make a service like eHarmony really scary. What if your compatible mate in 29 dimensions shows a near certain tendency to become unhinged two years down the road? Would you get involved knowing you are going to have a flaming nut case to deal with?
The other point here which isn't so high tech involves "changing your karma". Given that you are in the cloud how could you change your "appearance" to everyone. Otherwise known as reputation management, this may be a good way to get a better handle on understanding what changes we need to make and what qualities we can develop to bring about those changes.
Yeah, it's a really mixed bag, but there are lots of possibilities for good and bad. Let us be a force for the good.