Big data needs to calculate–that’s what it does. Insurance companies need to know what they’re insuring, for one thing. And there are market prices that need to be set–how much for a kidney, say? Or an eye? (Used to be an eye for an eye, you might say, but the times they are a-changing.) German filmmaker Peter Scharf’s new film Was Bin Ich Wert? — How Much Am I Worth?— does the math about you. (Scharf’s takes off from Jorn Klare’s book: Was bin ich wert?)
The film stands as a caution against measuring people strictly by the numbers. How Much Am I Worth? celebrates people’s incalculable humanity. Scharf tells Motherboard magazine: “The dark core of [today’s data-driven society] is that humans are continuously being calculated in more and more systems. Someone can just decide in healthcare systems when you’re over cost.” Most of the $2.5 million value Scharf places on your body comes from your organs, which he estimates at about $2.1 million. Other things add up. Like your blood and plasma–you can sell those, according Scharf’s calculations, for almost $900 a year. But that’s no way to measure a life is Scharf’s story in the end.