Monday, 22 December 2014

The Black Space Behind the Eyes

There's a passage in a book by one of my favourite authors that deals with the human condition as it relates to interacting with others. The book itself isn't very highbrow at all but it had a beautiful phrase in it that really resonated with me - "the only place that anyone is ever truly alone, ever has true privacy, is in the black space behind the eyes".

But I think that concept has had its day. Sure, up until fairly recently we were exposed to a thousand social transactions a day, but these were by and large with other human beings who were in the main barely interested in the stuff coming out of your mouth, let alone the thoughts behind it.

Save for a few loved ones and the occasional skilled negotiator no-one would give two hoots what was going on in my head. But then came big data and now every time I pick up my phone I leave a digital trail that Google and their ilk use to understand not what I might say, but what I'm truly interested in.

My phone knows what I'm doing and where I'm going and makes helpful suggestions. It knows when I'm likely to be leaving the office, what the traffic is like and will suggest the best route home. It knows what music I'm likely to want to listen to at a particular time of day and will magically generate playlists to suit.

Of course I know that the reason that big companies pour so much resource into this is so that they can sell me more crap that I don't need more effectively and up until a few years ago the AI was so poor, the suggestions so inaccurate, that I was quite happy to just turn it all off and keep my thoughts to myself.

The problem is now that it's so damn good its actually become useful.

It's probably even written my next post for me already.


1 comment:

  1. Oh God help me, your love of technology knows no bounds