The End of Search

NPR’s Steve Henn broadcast this story on NPR’s Morning Edition about Google I/O and the upcoming roadmap of product intelligence. The unifying theme across the report involves the greater intelligence of Google’s products in providing you with the right information: by taking into account past interaction with you, social conventions, image analysis, your location – you name it- the tools move from search-based information providers to highly customized, responsive agents that give you what you need when you need it. In New Mediocracy I write about the concept of the perfect marketing tool: if you have six billion people, the perfect tool has six billion custom versions.  The results of AI, applied so very personally, can be wonderful in bringing us information ever more efficiently. Indeed, the wealthy have personal assistants that do just this. There is one interesting difference however: Bill Gates’ personal assistants work for Bill Gates- they’re paid by him. In this case, there will be a trade; you get far better information, but of course you will also receive far more customized advertisement. And your personal assistant will be part of a global network, able to mine across demographics to draw conclusions that are profitable for business down the road. I am sure that one day we will look back and wonder how we got along with out the customized interfaces we will come to expect. But I am also very curious, in that near future, what expectations will we have about the privacy of our personal behavior?

 

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