We are data: the future of machine intelligence

“Artificial Intuition happens when a computer and its software look at data and analyze it using computation that mimics human intuition at the deepest levels: language, hierarchical thinking — even spiritual and religious thinking. The machines doing the thinking are deliberately designed to replicate human neural networks, and connected together form even larger artificial neural networks.”

This is from an article by Douglas Coupland. Maybe one of the more frightening things I’ve read about data collection. Let’s start with a few of one-liners:

“Amazon can tell if you’re straight or gay within seven purchases.”
“Doug’s Law: An app is only successful if it puts a lot of people out of work.”
“The amount of internet freedom we have right now is the most we’re ever going to get.”

He starts his piece with a description of an imaginary app called Wonkr. I had to read this a few times to decide if he was serious or not.

“You put Wonkr on your phone and it asks you a quick set of questions about your beliefs. Then, the moment there are more than a few people around you (who also have Wonkr), it tells you about the people you’re sharing the room with. You’ll be in a crowded restaurant in Nashville and you can tell that 73 per cent of the room is Republican. Go into the kitchen and you’ll see that it’s 84 per cent Democrat. You’ll be in an elevator in Manhattan and the higher you go, the percentage of Democrats shrinks. Go to Germany — or France or anywhere, really — and Wonkr adapts to local politics. The thing to remember is: Wonkr only activates in crowds. If you’re at home alone, with the apps switched off, nobody can tell anything about you.”

“Wonkr’s job is to tell you the political temperature of a busy space. “Am I among friends or enemies?” But then you can easily change the radius of testability. Instead of just the room you’re standing in, make it of the block or the whole city — or your country. Wonkr is a de facto polling app. Pollsters are suddenly out of a job: Wonkr tells you — with astonishing accuracy — who believes what, and where they do it.”

“Wonkr is a free app but why not help it by paying say, 99 cents, to allow it to link you with people who think just like you. Remember, to sign on to Wonkr you have to take a relatively deep quiz. Maybe 155 questions, like the astonishingly successful eHarmony.com.”

If you’re busy, put this aside until you have 10 minutes. It’s packed tighter than cocaine mule’s carry-on.