The device in your hand, the one that half of you are most likely using to read this blog post, has been so fantastically adapted to the preferences of the user that sometimes we tend to read over how that device works for us. In the past decade alone mobile devices have taken a great leap into innovation, especially within the global smartphone market. Remember the Motorola razer? Yeah.
Perhaps it is hard for the population to have a desire to learn how such devices are working for us, rather than just learning how to control the device itself. For instance, Amazon. I can decide that I want to buy a pair of fuzzy cat socks, find the socks, buy the socks with one click, have them delivered same day, and that task has become a fleeting occurrence in my memory. But not to Amazon.
By quantifying or behavior, companies can deliver marketing strikes to potential customers that are so specific it is almost scary. The platforms that package this behavior are even more successful, making serious money selling it to advertisers. This is what the marketplace looks like with the innovation of algorithms. So when I decide to buy those fuzzy cat socks, and proceed to move on to reading an article on the web only to be startled by an advertisement on my webpage for fuzzy bunny socks, my brain does a little double take. How did they know that? Are they watching me? No. It’s Algorithms. Algorithms people.
Taking this idea one step further, think about those devices you don’t just click with, you talk with. You are literally telling your device what you want, what you like, what you need. You think developers haven’t noticed? Getting users to utilize voice control is a surefire way to use algorithms in an even bigger way. The always listening digital assistant devices we employ are doing exactly what we should already assume they do, always listening. These devices may only be activated into service by specific voice prompts but in order for that to work that microphone needs to always be turned on.
Now, I’m not saying any of this is a bad thing, in fact I think it’s brilliant. My point lies within understanding the technology that is working for you, if only at a minor level, so that technology can continue to work better for you, the user. Voice and audio activity items help technologies such as Google, understand what the user is saying when using voice search features, so you better believe those voice snips are saved in order for the device to be able to recognize that voice again. Eventually those snips will be perused for marketing data points in the form of audio content analysis, just like algorithms picked up on my purchase of fuzzy cat socks.
Technology is literally becoming unavoidable, and in my personal opinion that isn’t the worst thing in the world. Who doesn’t want a personal digital assistant to know exactly what you need when you need it? With a link to get it?
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