‘Privacy is a myth’ this is truer than ever; our daily lives are always being tracked in one way or another. From our GPS to Amazon Wishlist to smartwatch statistics, everything is being tracked by somebody or the other and our daily digital experiences are always changing based on the decisions we make? Personalized Ads to Personalised Workouts we benefit from this constant monitoring, as disconcerting as it may appear, this doesn’t harm anyone but is actually useful.
What if smartwatches had the technology to track our brainwaves or hormones? How would that help us in any way? By tracking these reactions technology could decide what we really want before even we do. This is clearly already happening but what if it started making decisions for us?
AI can already access and process data at an incredibly fast rate, information that would take humans lifetimes to access is processed in a matter of minutes, what if an AI could learn your entire life’s history in such a manner and make decisions according to what you would do in specific situations. This is potentially horrifying but it is very much still science fiction at this point. AI requires algorithms on an algorithm of complex data to even make the simplest decision so they probably won’t run your life any time soon.
According to a research conducted by Adam Bear of the Yale Department of Psychology, even if we sometimes believe we are making a decision based on available information, we are actually making decisions on matters that have already been decided. This illusion occurs our cognitive processes reach our awareness long after our circumstances have changed. There is no other decision that could be made but we believe that we decided on something. He suggests that people are willing to accept outside decisions as long as they believe they have a choice.
On the internet, there is an abundance of choices in everything you might want to do. But when there is such an abundance of such choices, we get confused and rely on someone else to tell us which is the best. This is extremely apparent when online shopping, the choices are endless but we always go for the higher rated products. Here the decision of purchase was actually made from the ratings and not by ourselves.
Technology is always collecting information from us and this will only increase, AI will indeed eventually reach a point where they could tell us what to do. This is no reason to be afraid though as it will only make us more efficient as a species. If the thought of all of this frightens you, remember that you can always turn your phone or computer off.