In today’s world, with artificial intelligence, Deep learning and machine learning all around, honing trillions of data points across a plethora of industries and consumer applications, we face a single issue.
That issue is one of perfection – with perfection we have a sense of everything attuned and cultivated towards a wonderland that is beyond rebuke… With perfection we remove choice and freedom of choice, negating that which makes something perfect to us on both an emotional and human level.
From my perspective, I like things that are imperfect. Movies that are so bad they make me laugh, food that is bumpy and organic and not artificially shaped, songs that don’t follow a prescriptive flow or beat and provide a variety outside of machine generated recommendations.
In every industry you would be hard pushed to find the majority of business leaders who are not on the cusp or in deployment mode of some form of machine intelligence project. But will this continued push towards perfection cause a retro movement in my generation? Like we are seeing with vinyl records vs. digital downloads, or the move away from larger social media platforms.
In the world I imagine in the future, which will be driven by algorithms, the question I ask is do we need to regulate perfection? We often hear about bias in algorithms, which may be attuned to gender or other causes, but is our real enemy that of destruction of choice?
H2: Destruction of choice
Choice or freedom of choice without gaming or manipulation I do not think we ever will experience, since the days of early advertising and marketing, we have always been manipulated into purchase or brand recognition. The issue with the aforementioned manipulation is when this overspills into political or other messaging like we have seen recently.
There are many quotes I can use that describe an all-in or all-out approach, the issue that I am trying to address is that choice is the basis of all human intelligence, and the one area that provides regulation, from the vote we cast, to the movie we watch, protection of choice is key. The growth of companies that we had never heard of only 5 years ago shows the world how algorithms and Machine Learning / Artificial intelligence and Deep Learning are fuelling today’s consumer economies.
As an individual, I don’t want to be manipulated into choosing my perfect song, film, clothing or any other form of apparel. Unlike the mad men era of many years ago, data and the collection of that data is virtually weaponised against me on a daily basis, from the cookies that are collected and cross matched against databases I never gave permission to profile me, through to any form of unauthorised personally identifiable information (and yes you anonymise data blah blah blah).
GDPR and the collection of data and privacy controls in my view as a user are a great step towards transparency but is it enough? Do we need to see the control and monitoring of algorithms to preserve choice? Could we look at regulation and oversight to alert us?. Could this be based on a simple solution such as the voluntary food label scheme that shows high salt and fat content in an easy to use traffic light system on packaged food goods?
“Could a similar system of traffic lights be shown when we are being nudged or persuaded towards a choice even if that choice is one amassed by the collection of data?”
My generation has been born on the internet but that does not make us a slave to online data services, in fact, it is totally the opposite. I strongly believe now is the time to begin looking at the systems that guide all of our choices today before it is too late.