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Les dangers induits des données de masse

CAMBRIDGE (Mass.) – Dans la théorie des jeux, on nomme « prix de l’anarchie » la perte d’efficacité que représentent les actions d’individus mus par leur propre intérêt pour le système plus vaste au sein duquel elles s’inscrivent. C’est un phénomène récurrent, auquel nous sommes presque tous régulièrement confrontés.

Imaginons que vous ayez en charge la gestion du trafic urbain. Vous avez deux façons de maîtriser le problème de la circulation en ville. En règle générale, c’est l’approche centralisée et hiérarchisée qui est privilégiée – une conception globale du système, identifiant les points de friction ou de congestion, au nom de laquelle sont apportées les modifications nécessaires. On considère qu’il est plus efficace d’agir ainsi que de laisser chaque conducteur faire ses propres choix en espérant que de l’ensemble de ces choix individuels naîtra un arrangement acceptable. On admet que la première solution réduit le coût de l’anarchie et permet une meilleure allocation de l’information disponible.

Le monde d’aujourd’hui croule sous les données. En 2015, l’humanité a produit plus d’information que toutes les civilisations humaines au cours de leur histoire. Chaque fois que nous envoyons un message, que nous passons un appel ou réalisons une transaction, nous laissons des traces informatiques. Nous nous approchons à grande vitesse de ce que l’écrivain italien Italo Calvino nommait, de façon prémonitoire, la « mémoire du monde » : une copie informatique exhaustive de notre univers physique.

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