Gain Power, Lose Control? A Search Variant

October 20, 2011

The future of technology, like always, is fascinating: personal virtual assistants, customized search results, and big changes to information appliances. However, the new future Silicon Valley giants like Apple, Google and Facebook will be creating a mix of changes that will bring both unique benefits and some bad results.

It seems that the more advanced and powerful technology becomes, the more control users lose. We learn more in Datamation’s article, “How Apple, Google and Facebook Will Take Away Your Control,” which tells us:

“The more advanced this technology becomes, the bigger the decisions we’ll rely on them to make for us. Choices we now make will be “outsourced” to an unseen algorithm. We’ll voluntarily place ourselves at the mercy of thousands of software developers, and also blind chance. We will gain convenience, power and reliability. But we will lose control.”

Personal computers will no longer need to be maintained or customized. Personal assistants, like the iPhone 4s’ Siri, will place our words in context and learn what we “want.” Search algorithms will continue to customize to user attributes and actions.

Is the gain of convenience and reliability that we get from these shiny new toys worth it? Or is the shine just a distraction from the fact that we lose all control in search and technological decision making? I am not so sure the good will be outweighing the bad in this scenario, but I fear that we may be stuck in the cycle.

Andrea Hayden, October 20, 2011

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