The idea of a digital assistant has been around since Clippy and Microsoft Bob. And in the past year or two it actually became useful thanks to Okay Google and Siri.
Siri is great at making conversations, while Google tries to be a silent butler anticipating all your needs with Google Now. Sometimes it can be scary, and even scarier if you are a tech person.
I feel that Google and Facebook are keeping a lot of functions and data away from users, not only to keep us from feeling overwhelmed, but to hide how much they already know about us.
So. What are they cooking in their labs? What brave new world is waiting for us?
1. Context help
First of all we need to accept that all our personal information can be shared and manipulated by tech companies. It is already this way, the point is just to stop worrying and love the net.
After that we can get a better access to our own data, get advices, suggestions and help based on what is already known about us anyway.
Right now all our personal data is more helpful to advertisers, than to ourselves. Anyway your GMail inbox is already parsed for Google Now updates and ads inside GMail. Why not make a step forward?
Add more context help instead of context ads!
We can start with a chatbot integrated into all your online services, just waiting to give you an advice or to google something for you without even asking. Like you are a TV star host with a hidden earphone and a producer’s helping you all the way.
The key is constant parsing and understanding of all conversations you are having and everything that you are reading or watching. It is already happening right now, but you don’t get much help and feedback from that.
Now it is already implemented in suggestions on Facebook and in Play Store for example. Have you noticed that Facebook often suggests you something amazingly and creepy precise? They can be even better and more interactive.
Imagine you have a hidden prompter in every chat:
- Answer any simple question with a click without googling. Using the suggested google answer.
- Get interesting updates on the topic. Like when a new album will be released of a band you are talking about.
- Find out some interesting facts about a person you are talking to. Or don’t forget something important like their birthday or an anniversary.
- May be even some personal advice?
And on any web page, isn’t it awesome when everything is fact checked for you in real time?
- Check the news for fakes.
- Find better deals on your purchases.
- Get an advice where to read a full story on that topic.
- Look through profiles of any person mentioned or of the author.
2. Psych eval
Psychological evaluation is defined as a way of testing people about their behavior, personality, and capabilities to draw conclusions using combinations of techniques. Over the years, it has developed from unethical methods of locking people up for tests to the many different strategies seen today.
Facebook already сconfessed that they experimented on users and manipulated them to feel better or worse. And of course Facebook is working on creating accurate psychological profiles for everybody together with social graphs of how we feel about our friends. It is a lot like any dating service, only you don’t see any of your processed data and matches.
Here’s one of the psychological tests that tries to figure out something about you based only on your likes.
It is developed at the University of Cambridge and provides predictive services about yourself or your users/customers.
So the next step to a better personal assistant is to know your traits, your character. This way it can predict new interests for you that are not directly connected with your current interests, extending your Filter Bubble. Or change the way your digital assistant communicates with you, forms sentences, chooses topics.
This is an important step from likes to traits.
And may be it is already used in Facebook, we never know all of its ways and algorithms.
For all you unlucky sociopaths your digital assistant can also analyze and evaluate your friends and acquaintances. Help you to communicate with them. Give you an advice during a conversation, tell you what present to choose for a birthday or if you said something wrong.
Promise this can be not that creepy at all. Remember you used to use statuses in ICQ? Like DND, Away, Free for a chat… But after some time and several new messengers you stopped to care. They can come back in a very subtle and automated way, especially if you use a tracking device.
Your digital assistant can suggest you whom you need to talk to and about what, or during a conversation tell you how to better react if your empathy is worse than your robots.
Changed my ICQ status to online from invisible. Let everybody see how miserable I am.
© A friend
Are you okay with all this?
Or it’s time for us to delete Google and Facebook profiles?
My point is if we are studied, experimented and sold to corporarions we should at least get something in return. And we can build more private and secure services only if we expose how little privacy we have.
With a prompter in each cellar window whispering comebacks, shy people would have the last laugh.