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Today's cars have more than 100 sensors built into them.
Today's cars have more than 100 sensors built into them.

Trade Your Privacy For A Zero Dollar Car?

By Bill Moore

Big Data researcher and former Chief Technologist at Ford Motor Company, John Ellis coined the term 'Zero Dollar Car' to raise awareness of the oceans of data our world of connected devices, especially the modern automobile, routinely collect on us.

Imagine what a company like 'The Weather Channel' could do with the information from just a few of the sensors now built into the modern automobile. For example, the speed of our windshield wipers, the outside temperature and the GPS location of the car could create a virtual "heat map" of the highly localized intensity of micro weather in a city, a county, a state, a nation.

Or what about the music you listen to or the conversations you have in your car, not to mention knowing where you live, where you work, and where you shop. And that's just from your car's GPS system.

Of course this raises all kinds of privacy concerns, but it also raise the possibility that if we, as individual citizens, could control what is collected, how its used and who uses it, there is the opportunity to monetize that information in some form.

That's the premise behind John Ellis' The Zero Dollar Car: How the Revolution in Big Data will Change Your Life: It's a virtual tsunami of "Big Data" about to crash into our fragile culture, one that undoubtedly will be disruptive, but also might be turned to everyone's benefit, though getting there will take perseverance and enlightened political activism.

John addresses this question in his 2017 TEDx talkThe Zero Dollar Car - The Transportation Industry Transformed. That talk spurred me to reach out to him and followup on some of the issues he raises. The 30-minute interview below is the result. You can listen to it online or download the file to playback on your personal MP3 player.

Times Article Viewed: 20270
Originally published: 24 Jan 2018

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