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Saturday, June 18, 2005

When truth is relative

This report in the Guardian hints at changes in technology that will alter the relationship between the user and their software. Not only is Google planning to rank news stories according to their accuracy and reliability as well as their topicality, but other developments are in hand that will allow generic programmes to be moulded to our needs. Microsoft is planning to put tools based around a concept known as "implicit query" in its next version of Windows, due to be launched next year, in which search technology will start to second guess users' preferences by analysing their online activity and even their hard drives.

If this sounds Orwellian then that is because it is, except that Eric Blair 's nightmare vision was of the state using the mass media to manipulate and control our lives. He never considered the possibility of international corporations subtly customising our technology so as to influence and organise our life choices, possibly using on-line broadband connections to collect and record our preferences for onward sale for marketing purposes, whilst at the same time determining for us which news items we should believe and which we should not.

If you interpose the state into that equation, link it to the ability to track our vehicle movements by satellite and to download a mass of information about us through a national database and ID cards, then you have something far worse and far more intrusive than anything that Orwell could have imagined. It may be a paranoid vision but it is looming in the very near future. We should remember that not all technological developments are benign and that useful as computers are they are already becoming a window into our lives through which many people are starting to look.



This is the biggest load of tosh I have read in a long while.

They really are out to get you.
At least I hope so :)

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