Yesterday I wrote an article about a new Facebook game developed by the world’s largest technical organization, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The goal of the game is to measure interest in certain technologies in order to predict future trends that are worth investing in.
The conclusion drawn by IEEE is that the gadget of the future is YOU. Meaning that all of the data supplied, stored, and analyzed through online activity, as well as the data received from internet-connected smart devices becomes a means toward an “anticipatory” future of homes that will recognize what you want before you consciously make a decision. The IEEE believes that current interest demonstrates that mind controlled Smart Homes are just around the corner.
Parallel to the growing ability of Big Data to sort through the information stream for meaningful connections is the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI). Facebook’s newly appointed AI guru, Yann LeCun, has explained that once the logistics of data collection and analysis reach a more precise level, then the era of predictive technologies will emerge. The recent announcement of a new patent by Amazon.com would indicate that this stage is upon us and they are preparing to make it reality.
In case you were wondering if anyone but the NSA is really interested in your data, Amazon has tacitly admitted that it might know you better than you know yourself. Through a system of “anticipatory shipping,” Amazon plans to send products to shipping hubs prior to actual purchases taking place.
Amazon plans to box and ship products it expects customers to buy preemptively, based on previous searches and purchases, wish lists, and how long the user’s cursor hovers over an item online. The company may even go so far as to load products onto trucks and have them “speculatively shipped to a physical address” without having a full addressee. Such a scenario might lead to unwanted deliveries and even returns, but Amazon seems willing to take the hit, stating in the patent, “Delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill.” (Source)
Amazon’s decision to patent this technology echoes statements from Google, when they said that it can predict movie sales with 94% accuracy. Similarly, search behavior can predict market movements.
Two recent papers in Nature’s Scientific Reports suggest that Google searches and Wikipedia usage patterns contain signals about this information gathering phase that can be exploited in a trading algorithm. (Source)
It is clearly not enough to have logged and charted where we have been; the surveillance state wants to know where we are going through psychological profiling and predictive behavior technology.
We are beginning to see the dystopian application of pre-crime technology, but now that it is entering the economic sphere we are beginning to see the bigger picture as the various dots come together and point to a truly scientific Orwellian world that views human beings as predictable and manageable 0’s and 1’s. We are being fed directly into the matrix.
Whether or not you have given your explicit permission for companies to use your data in order to predict your behavior, they’ve got the technology and are proving that they are ready to use it. In Amazon’s case, your shipment might arrive via drone before you know it.
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