I have been a psychotherapist since 1974. But it was in 2012 that I realized that if I could download all the contents that were on one of my patient’s smart phones, I would know much more about how they run their lives, and how and when they mess them up, then I could ever get from just talking to them.
People willingly put all of their lives into their phones, and now there is twenty times the data that was available in 2012. I would be able to track their movements, see how they spend their money, see from their heart rate and other physical measures when they get excited, or when they get anxious. I could see whom they contact, and what it’s about. I could literally see what they were doing from the pictures, and videos they take. I would know where they get their information, and who they follow on Facebook or whatever they are following.
It could certainly be helpful if AI was added that could see patterns that I, with just one tired human brain, could never see. It could link the mood changes to behaviors, and make more accurate predictions of when bad decisions were being made and when dangerous thoughts and behaviors were about to occur.
Would that be a good thing?
Obviously, much of this is being done already. Amazon has a lot of this information on millions of people now, and The Echo is giving them much more every day: this person is running out of alfalfa sprouts, Whole Foods will send more over tomorrow. This person doesn’t believe in climate change, lets fill n some of their news sources with more weather disasters. This person thinks Amazon is getting too big, let’s send some good news about how Amazon helps communities.
The underlying problem is that there is no trust. That is what Musk is worried about. Technology is a tool. There is no way as of yet, to regulate who gets to use it, and for what purposes. Who would set the rules? Would you trust them?