Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Big Brother, Is That You?

From the Telegraph:
"Young will have to change names to escape 'cyber past' warns Google's Eric Schmidt"

"The private lives of young people are now so well documented on the internet that many will have to change their names on reaching adulthood, Google’s CEO has claimed." 

Well, that's debatable... 

"Mr Schmidt said he believed that every young person will one day be allowed to change their name to distance themselves from embarrasssing photographs and material stored on their friends' social media sites."
Or... they could endeavor not to expose themselves in that way... And why are we blaming the friends?  I thought that "young people" were generally posting embarrassing photos and material about themselves.  They hardly need their friends to help embarrass them.

(Also:  See?  I  knew there was a reason I don't like Facebook.  ...This has little-to-nothing to do with my personal reasons, but all the same...)

And then we get to the creepy part of the article:

The 55-year-old also predicted that in the future, Google will know so much about its users that the search engine will be able to help them plan their lives. 
...Plan my life?

Using profiles of its customers and tracking their locations through their smart phones, it will be able to provide live updates on their surroundings and inform them of tasks they need to do.
 ...Tracking our locations through our phones??  (Oh, lovely.  Yes, I know that "the authorities" already have this ability, but I'm not kooky enough to believe anyone's tracking my phone's movement on a daily basis.)

And "tasks we need to do"?  (According to whom?)

"We're trying to figure out what the future of search is," Mr Schmidt said. “One idea is that more and more searches are done on your behalf without you needing to type.

"I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

He suggested, as an example, that because Google would know “roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are”, it could remind users what groceries they needed to buy when passing a shop.
Um, 'scuse me while I take a moment to shudder involuntarily.   ...Ok, done.  --No, wait! Spoke too soon... ~~shiver~~ ...Ok, now I'm done.  (For now.  I'll recommence later in the day, when I realize that I'm once again feeding the beast-- er, I mean interacting via my social media sites. (g))

Where to begin?! 

Searches done on my behalf without me needing to type?  Yahoo! (Ooops, sorry 'bout that, Google-- no harm meant...)  You mean I can finally ditch this irritating keyboard once and for all?!  Yes!  I've been wondering when someone would take the drudgery out of the Internet.  All that typing!  

Hey!  Do you think that maybe someday Google will be able to formulate my blog entries for me, too?!   That'd be aweseome. (As they say.)

And as for this:  "I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

Yes, Almighty Google.  We bow down to thee.  Tell us what to do next!  We are but feeble-minded creatures incapable of self-direction.  Give us the perpetual guidance we crave!

...And I don't know about you, but the day I need Google to tell me what groceries I need (based on who my friends are, among other things) is the day I surrender all pretense of autonomy. 

Near the end of the article was one more little tidbit-- something the same man had apparently said last year, but which I don't recall hearing:  “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

That's not even worthy of a response, is it?

Good grief, that guy has a gift for making your flesh crawl! 

It certainly makes you pause a moment and wonder about the future.