Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Anticipating Our Needs
At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, all I ask is a thank you in the acknowledgements.
I got a new cell phone for Christmas. When I text, it gives me three choices of possible words as I start typing. The first choices were "Yes", "No", and "Talk later?" Now, they've become "I", "The", and "I'm". And I went to type "yes" and "yeah" appeared. It's learning my idiosyncrasies. I think.
I don't know if this is a good thing or not.
What if future computers (cell phones, devices) learned us well enough to anticipate our needs? Like, what if the fridge knew when to order groceries (and what to order)? What would that be like? How might that make things go wrong?