Friday, April 13, 2012

Google and The Adjustment Bureau

A quote from The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom by Evgeny Morozov

"Google already bases the ads it shows on our searches and the text of our emails; Facebook aspires to make its ads much more fine-grained, taking into account what kind of of content we have previously 'liked' on other sites and what our friends are 'liking' and buying online. Imagine building censorship systems that are as detailed and fine-tuned to the information needs of their users as the behavioral advertising we encounter everyday. The only difference between the two is that one system learns everything about about us to show us more relevant advertisements, while the other learns everything about us to ban us from accessing relevant pages. Dictators have been somewhat slow to realize that the customization mechanisms underpinning so much of web 2.0 can easily be turned to purposes that are much more nefarious than behavioral advertising, but they are fast learners."

The Adjustment Bureau may not be a great film but it attempts to show us that free will is something we must fight for - it is not granted, at least not any longer - as a birthright. The stuff in the Morozov quote is from 2 sides of the same coin. It is the coin minted by the Adjustment Bureau.