Ok. I’m going to talk out of my ass for a second because this is something I feel very strongly about but for the past 2 years, I’ve been doing the complete opposite as sort of a test. I think along the way, I became addicted and became something I was completely against. I’m against everything being online. I’m against the digital lifestyle and nearly everything it involves. For the past few weeks, the idea of robots taking over the world has become so very clear. With every new product that Google releases, I become more and more terrified of our future. As recent as 2 years ago, we were still browsing the web and kind of putting some data out there but it wasn’t a lot. In most cases, the data we were giving companies wasn’t really organized. Amazon didn’t have a recommendation tool based on your buying habits and services like Last.FM and StumbleUpon were in their infancy. There’s a growing trend among nearly every web service that is, “give us your data and we’ll make it look cool.”
Every time an email goes through Google’s Servers, I make a search, watch a YouTube video, update my location, send my Genius music results to Apple, “like” something on FriendFeed or Facebook, play an episode on Hulu, blog something I liked on Flickr or Dugg something……more of my passions, thoughts and interests are stored on a server somewhere. I’ve agreed to terms and conditions that say these companies can use that data for anything they want and I think Google’s agreement is that they can keep this info for over one hundred years. What? That email I sent to my sister saying I love Apples and has been deleted will stay with Google for 100 years and when I’m driving my Google car down the Interstate on my 60th birthday, an advertisement will pop up like in Minority Report that asks, “so do you still like Apples?” That’s scary as hell and I want no part of that.
What can we do about it? Nothing really. If 100 of us decide we’ve had enough, go to some spot in the rain forest and form our own society, the rest of the world will still be handing data over to Internet companies and 50 years from now a robotics company will acquire that data to help robots better understand how humans think. It’ll seem like a good idea that your robot knows that you like Apples, hate gin and likes to be left alone when you first wake up every morning but when the robot uprising happens, that same data will be used against you and it will make robot interrogations extremely easy because they know exactly what we hate. My tweet that says I don’t like Power Rangers will be used against me as Power Rangers episodes play over and over until I give in as a slave to the robot race.
You think I’m kidding? Nope. This will happen and it’s only a matter of time. I’m a part of the problem now. I’ve sent and received over 50 thousand emails through Google Mail servers, 35 thousand tweets through Twitter, rated thousands of YouTube videos and used services like Wakoopa, Last.FM, Pandora and others. That data is being collected and will be used against me in the future. I just don’t know when. I’m scared. You should be too.