Teng (her real name is Cynthia Yih Shih) is a Taiwanese-American songwriter who’s latest album, Aims, will be available for download in September. Hymn of Acxiom will be on it.
She describes it as “Sacred music for the age of Big Data.”
Teng wrote code before she wrote songs for a living, and she studied at Stanford and Michigan. Teng also interned for Acxiom, the Little Rock-based big data giant. That experience, in part, served as motivation for the song.
The story arc of society’s relationship to big data has evolved much like a Dick novel. And it could be argued that it’s becoming Orwellian as well. Perhaps ol’ Eric Blair wasn’t too far ahead of his time.
We’re not suggesting Acxiom is bad — it’s been a wonderful corporate citizen, and several IA clients have parlayed their Acxiom experience into successful startup launches — only acknowledging that big data’s reach is long.
So, sacred music for big data. Here are Teng’s Hymn of Acxiom lyrics:
somebody hears you. you know that. you know that.
somebody hears you. you know that inside.
someone is learning the colors of all your moods, to
(say just the right thing and) show that you’re understood.
here you’re known.
leave your life open. you don’t have. you don’t have.
leave your life open. you don’t have to hide.
someone is gathering every crumb you drop, these
(mindless decisions and) moments you long forgot.
keep them all.
let our formulas find your soul.
we’ll divine your artesian source (in your mind),
marshal feed and force (our machines will)
to design you a perfect love—
or (better still) a perfect lust.
o how glorious, glorious: a brand new need is born.
now we possess you. you’ll own that. you’ll own that.
now we possess you. you’ll own that in time.
now we will build you an endlessly upward world,
(reach in your pocket) embrace you for all you’re worth.
is that wrong?
isn’t this what you want?