I’ve been enjoying life … and now this. My worries about our computers taking over our life functions have just become a lot more real. I like to think of myself as a thinking being, exploring the possibilities for new and useful things, and helping myself, my species and even the Universe to actualize their potentials.
Unfortunately, it appears my opportunities to do these things are being co-opted by computers. This has come about not so much because of the growing superpowers of computers, although that is a component of the problem, but because of the linking of my known qualities as a human to the predictive software running on the computers. They know what I want and will choose to do better than I do.
It all began only a few years ago with our favorite online companies trying to satisfy our needs. For example, if you just bought an expensive pair of shoes they would assume that you would probably be interested in some expensive high-quality socks, and perhaps some stylish clothing that would go well with your new shoes. Since they knew they sent the shoes to a retirement community in a wilderness area of Oregon they already had a good idea of what kind of person you were. Your probable age, your disposable income level, your likely political affiliations. If you used your real name, which you probably did, they could access public records and find out in finer detail where you have lived, what kind of car you have driven for the last several years, your arrest records, and your FICO financial records.
It soon became even more specific and now they have your DNA, at least they have mine, and with that, they can trace your relationships with lots of other people. It worked for me … and I enjoyed it, but even if you guard your DNA and all the other things I have alluded to, they can derive them pretty accurately from those around you. They can estimate your beliefs by the organizations you belong to and the people you associate with.
With all of that information at their disposal the computers can predict what kinds of TV you will watch, and if you watch Netflix that is tracked and they give you a list of shows that you will probably like. After you have watched a few of those, they have a much better understanding of what you like and thus what you will likely choose. Same with the books and magazines you read, the newspapers you like, and the things you avoid.
Now comes the problem, and the reason I said in the title “YOU ARE DEAD NOW!” If “they” (in this case some specialized computers) know what you like and what you will choose, they can give you more of it; BUT with that knowledge, they can also start easing things into their presentations that will slowly mold your thoughts and after a while your actions too. That process is slow enough that you will always feel like you are the one making the decisions. Of course, the people you associate with are also being influenced in the same way, and from them, you get a lot of personal support for your “independent” thoughts, beliefs and actions. You are no longer the one in charge of your thoughts, and programmers of the computers aren’t either. At some point, it is the computers themselves who are making the decisions for you. They are becoming the independent thinking beings on our planet and we are becoming the predictable machines.
The computers are becoming more alive every day and we are becoming more mechanistic and dead meat to them. Sorry!