Your Digital Profile Knows More About You Than You Know About You (and You Gave It to Google for Free)
Do you know yourself as well as Google knows you?
No, really. Think about it for a second. You don’t need to go full Descartes, but what do you honestly think? What about ten years ago? Fifteen? Thirty? (I’ve used up my current life quota, but feel free to keep reminiscing in intervals of your choice).
Let’s maybe tackle this from a different angle. Say you’ve got a big interview for a cushy new job. You get your outfit and your hair just right, you grab your mocha chocolata [(yaya) or whatever] and you open up Zoom (because is this ever going to end?). Your interviewer greets you in the most professional way possible given he’s likely not wearing pants (because Zoom) and then he hits you with the ultimate cliche interview opener…
So, tell me a bit about yourself…
So, honestly…who can answer that question more accurately: you or Google?
You, who doesn’t remember what you ate for breakfast yesterday or Google, who has had access to pretty much everything you’ve searched on the internet since the last loyal followers of Jeeves fell by the wayside?
Regardless of your level of confidence, I feel pretty safe betting on Google on this one. I’d even bet on Jeeves. Damn, I miss that fella. But anyway, the fact still remains: Google knows a hell of a lot about you and you aren’t even sure how to answer this simple interview question.
So, does it even matter that a multinational conglomerate addicted to profit (and I’m just using Google as an example here, they aren’t the only ones) has so much information on you that they likely have a close-to-complete artificial version of you and pretty much everybody else in the world that they can use to influence your behavior on a scale we as average people can’t yet understand?
Your searches, your watch time, your comments, can they all be packaged up and analyzed? By whom? What can they learn? Where do you think they buried Jeeves? Is Jeeves still alive? What if it’s not just your data, but everyone’s data combined? Huh. Quite the thought.
That’d be pretty nuts, though. Maybe they could, like, track everything and everyone and, I dunno, analyze behaviors to predict things or, like, maybe they can view humanity as one big mathematical equation, and they can like, inject variables into the equation based on their predictive models to create a future that benefits them the most.
Yeah, I don’t know. Sounds like some Cheech & Chong talk.
Good thing I’ve got nothing to hide.