The Gentlemen Revolutionaries

Dedicated to the Preservation of the First Amendment

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

At 2:14 a.m. August 29th, Google becomes self-aware

The Terminator: The Skynet Funding Bill is passed. The system goes on-line August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.
Sarah Connor:
And Skynet fights back.

Chances are they are reading this right now. What I really should say is that chances are it is reading this right now. What is it? It is a computer program or computer or set of programs, (however it is defined I am not 100% sure) that roams the internet, updating itself to new links, pages, images, phone numbers, satellite images, scholarly articles, news, blogs, items for sale, classified ad postings, VIN numbers, package tracking, flight information, and anything and everything else that ever hits the internet. It is the first commercially successful stab at artificial intelligence. It is Google and it is slowly yet fundamentally changing the internet, and the future, as we know it. I want to correct myself right away; slowly is not the correct word, it isn’t slow, it is subtle.
I also want to admit to my dependence on Google. I love Google. I love Gmail and will give anyone and everyone an invite. I use Desktop Search which is great but has allowed my own file structure to fall apart. Google maps is amazing. Google news is my default news service and pretty much everything I do on the internet starts there. This blog is no exception, it is run on a Google owned system called Blogger.
So what? So Google has a great business model, it is one of the few dotcoms to really run a profit, it had an amazing IPO, and its stock will probably hit 600 this year and is only slightly overvalued (very little sarcasm here, I really believe that Google is worth almost that much). So what is my freaking deal? (image placeholder)It scares me. Not the organization, not the people, but it. Not the physical Google Bots that roam the web, but instead the idea of Google. The idea of literally compiling all the information in the world, not just knowledge but information, into one place, terrifies me.
They could very easily figure out where I work, the route I take to get there, the gas I use, the type of car I drive, approximately how much I get paid, what websites I frequent, how much time I spend online, the TV shows I watch, medical problems that I research, pictures of me and my friends and family, and that is all without invading my privacy. That is simply from web searches. If they included what Gmail and Desktop search have access to then they have basically my whole life on file.
Yet all of this is still not enough for me to worry about them. It is where they go from here that I worry about.
Rumors have been floating of an upcoming Google PC, I don’t buy them and frankly even with it, I am not concerned about it. A low priced Google PC would simply be a new outlet for advertising, and a different market of advertising (Wal-Mart instead of Wall Street Journal). A Google PC would also be heavily web integrated—possibly with minimal hard storage capacity and instead online storage space? Perhaps a PC “to go” type system… (Nothing but thoughts and speculation) What is coming, I am not sure, I will speculate later, but something big is coming.
Thursday (1/5) marks the launch of the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show, the biggest venue for showing off new products for 2006. From my cursory research Google has some of the most space at the show, comparable to Microsoft (which has a new operating system to show off). So what are they doing there? What products are they showing off? The only answer I have for you is (image placeholder)something, and that something is most likely NOT a PC. Articles have been written in the past two days that speak of the “Google Cube.” The “Cube” is basically a device that attaches to pretty much everything and then wirelessly networks back to your home network and to the internet. The advantage for Google is that they can monitor every webpage, TV show, DVD, video game, CD that you use then advertise to you based on an algorithm determining your likes and dislikes, couple that in with your demographics and they have the most powerful advertising medium EVER. But for consumers to use “The Cube” it must have some value for them. Just giving it away won’t do it, it has to have a purpose for the consumer. If the Cube is more than myth, we should find this out this week.
So why I am afraid of Google? The advertising doesn’t scare me. Them having a “file” on me really isn’t what pushes me over the edge either. It is how far they are planning to go that concerns me. One of the most important rules at Google is “Don’t be evil,” I do not believe that they are evil, but sometimes evil arises from the best intentions. The improvements in the Google AI (artificial intelligence- which scares the shit out of me just on its own, though Google’s is not like scary sci-fi AI), their ever expanding quest for knowledge, and their ballooning services make it very dangerous should someone decide to be evil, or gets there accidentally.


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