Google is Completely Out of Its Mind

Soren Larson
May 18, 2016 · 3 min read

Today Google launched Allo at Google IO, equipped with all sorts of fancy AI, computer vision, etc.,

Part of its presentation involved, for instance, giving users suggestions for how to respond to a cute dog, or a delicious plate of pasta.

Too busy to bother with your annoying friends who send you pictures? Just let an AI respond for you. A productivity booster!

In these cases, you’re chatting with your friends, but they’ve dared to interrupt your productivity by sending you pictures that you need to look at, and, to be a good friend, respond to.


Fortunately for us, Google’s Allo has Computer Vision capabilities that read these photos and nearly respond for us.

“So cute!”

“Yummy!” “❤ Clams”

Heck — why even let us choose from the available options? Let’s just have Google respond for us with the most likely response of someone “like us” according to Google’s models. After all, engaging with friends costs valuable productivity time. :sips Soylent 2.0:

Then, breezing through any cognitive dissonance, Google plays a video about its new video product (which seems pretty cool!) that shows friends interacting via their video technology. Friends show each other their newborn, tickets they got for an upcoming concert, or catch up.

But if these friends are the same ones who let Google respond for them “yummy!” to a picture of pasta their friend sent them, why would they bother genuinely interacting on a video call? Google’s computer vision technology is still available to them!

At this point, I’m ready to let Google outsource all knowledge that doesn’t help me “be productive.”

I don’t need to know about good restaurants in my neighborhood. I don’t need to know how to cook carne asada for my friends. I don’t even need to have feelings. I just want to code all day.

Google and its SF corporate campus ilk need to remember that technology is not interesting by itself; it’s only interesting in so far as it enhances a diverse culture that supports it.

And sadly for SF, nerdism is not Culture. White tech bro is not Culture. Culture does not spawn on hour bus (with wifi!) rides to Mountain View.

Please, Google, return to Culture and let your products grow from it. You’ll have much more success that way than this.

This is embarrassing.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store