This Video from Google Shows How Our Data is Influencing Future Decisions

Google Ledger
Written by Hassan Abbas

Google constantly monitors us. Like many others, true, but to the beast. And like those others, it does it to improve the services it provides and, of course, to offer better contextual advertising. All these data, however, could end up serving for something else.

It is what reveals an internal Google video that has just come to light. The short of just 9 minutes entitled ‘The Selfish Ledger’ shows us how the idea of building an ‘accounting book’ about our activity is useful for disturbing things, such as influencing us and our ability to choose future.

Google Ledger

We are what we do

The video poses a unique vision of the future more typical of an episode of ‘ Black Mirror ‘ than of a reality with which we live day by day. It does so from a series of theories and reflections that lead its decision makers to worrying conclusions.

The Creator of this video is Nick Foster, who was responsible for the design secret R & D division called Google X. The video, created in 2016, begins by talking about the theory of evolution and derives its title from the 1976 book by Richard Dawkins entitled ‘The Selfish Gene’.

In this case, the basic premise is that each person would have an “accounting book” with a constantly growing record of data collected that Foster calls ‘Selfish Ledger’. In the future, he explains, that book would not only register our actions and behavior in the past but “offer directions towards the desired result”.

That book would be inherited to future generations, not only to your ‘lineage’, but even to the whole society, which would also be ‘enriched’ and influenced by all those data. Obviously, the implications on privacy reappear, but in a big way: now it turns out that our data could be an object of study forever?

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Data that serve to influence us

What does that mean? Well, one of the examples shows how you could use customized 3D printers that collect more data and multigenerational transactions that help solve global problems such as poverty.

That personal accounting book would also be used to direct us to that global solution through local actions. For example, he would recommend us and I would suggest buying locally grown products instead of imported ones.

These data would also anticipate our needs and those of the account book itself, which for example would use that 3D printer to manufacture a scale and thus be able to track our weight to complete that monitoring with more and more relevant data.

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The video leaked by The Verge has caused some uneasiness among those who have seen it, and of course, it seems a very coherent reflection with that branch of research of a company that does not stop collecting data.

At Google, of course, they clarify that “we understand that it is disturbing”, and explain that it uses a technique called ‘speculative design’ in which “uncomfortable ideas and concepts are explored to provoke debate and discussion”. Yes, this video “is not related to any current or future product,” they conclude.

Via: Theverge

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About the author

Hassan Abbas

Tech enthusiast with too many items on his wish-list and not nearly enough money! Specializing in all things tech, with a slight Apple bent he has been writing for various blogs for the best part of (too many) years

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