Algorithms are moving ever-forward, fueled by a desire to better understand and access modern consumers, guided by artificial intelligence that crunches data at unimaginable speeds, pushing you in directions you probably aren’t even aware you are going.
They’re taking over, and the window of opportunity for second thoughts diminishes daily.
“If we want to rethink this where we’re going, now is the time. Because at a certain point in a sense it will be a foregone conclusion,” says futurist Dr. Andy Hines, Program Coordinator at the University of Houston’s Graduate Program in Foresight.
Algorithms are already the key determinant in most decisions regarding the financial sector, from interest rates to stock market purchasing. They have moved into the realm of consumerism, analyzing each purchase from every dimension to better predict consumer behavior and preferences. What aspect of your personality or private life will they focus on next? Digital medical records are helping health insurance giants better monitor their policy holders and the decisions they make about their own care.
“I don’t think most of us are aware of the amazing power that these big data engines are going to have over us. Literally, they’re going to tell us what to do and we’re not going to be able to resist unless we pay the penalty for it,” Hines says.
Hines says we are heading to a world where Google, Amazon, Facebook and select others will be repositories of the data reflecting, and regulating, most human activity.