Ian kinds of information Disney can gather,

March 19, 2019 General Studies

Ian Bogost takes readers on a journey through the rarely-seen side of Disney’s newest data-gathering, “convenience” tool, the MagicBand, in his essay “Welcome to Dataland”. Bogost begins with a laughable, relatable story about his own experiences with Disney’s MagicBand, but then quickly delves into the technical details about the kinds of information Disney can gather, and how they manipulate it, while following a progression that concludes with a presentation of the melding together of fantasy and reality that is the MagicBand, but more importantly, an ethical analysis of the type of data gathering that Disney is doing.
Bogost uses a contradictory method of explaining the details of the MagicBand throughout his entire essay. He continuously refers to details that make Disney’s technology seem magical and whimsical, and follows those claims by immediately debunking them with their real-world explanations, so the reader never gets to build a sense of wonderment with Disney’s MagicBand. Bogost wants readers to abandon the sense of magic that Disney instills in all their customers, and focus instead on what exactly Disney is doing with these data-harvesting bracelets. The ethical problems seem fairly straightforward, and Disney even outlines what kinds of information they are allowed to gather from you on their website, but after a comment from Bogost relating Disney’s data gathering to other big corporations, he still seems as if he isn’t convinced that what they are gathering is entirely ethical.
There is a large point made about Walt Disney, and how while he was a man who strongly valued traditional ways, he was also strongly into the idea of bringing the fictional world to life, and transforming the future into the present. While Disney’s ideas are revolutionary, and for many hold a dear place in their hearts, Bogost warns readers not to forget the consequences of such high-volume data gathering, simply because they have some semblance of ‘magic’. Bogost asks the reader to consider what it would be like if more of their shared information was open source rather than behind closed doors, and suggests that once this kind of data monitoring becomes mainstream and accepted, it will become harder and harder to monitor in its own way. Finally, Bogost mentions that possibly the most redeeming factor of this entire experience is that eventually, you leave, and no longer get monitored, but is the data they have gathered under the shroud of fantasy ethical?


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