Embracing technology with too much zeal can lead to a dependence that borders moral limits. Normally, we turn to the Internet to get informed on topics that interest us, or even to automate certain tasks thanks to software that helps our daily life. But, what happens when we are given the opportunity for an application to analyze our situation and makes decisions for us?
Should I Break Up With My Boyfriend is an iOS app designed for a female audience which decides if you should break up with your partner. Throughout a couple of weeks, you enter information about your feelings in regards to the relationship. Once this “trial” period is up, the apps suggests, according to the data obtained, if you should leave him or give him a chance.
Changing topics – DressApp is a priori a very useful app for people who have tons of clothes in their wardrobe. It allows you to take pictures of them, and then catalog them in the app so you can decide which is the best outfit to wear. The interesting thing about it is that when you have entered enough clothing items, the application will judge your style. This software, in addition to Cloth and Closet, are beginning to include automated systems that recommend what you should wear depending on the occasion, or the style you want to have.
If you focus on the diet arena, there are tons of apps and “trainers.” What I Eat will recommend what you should eat according to your habits and weight. It prepares a calendar for you with notifications to keep a balanced diet and eating calendar. As intrusive as the app may be, when all is said and done it is watching out for your health.
But, we don’t have to get into such specialized fields. As a case in point, the social networks and app stores you use usually are on top of what interests you, and offer you suggestions on what they think goes well with your taste. Google Play, Android’s app store, has a system of recommendations that suggests you download certain apps based on a series of standards, such as your contacts’ preferences, the apps you already have installed, and even those that people use who are in your neighborhood or city.
Technology continues to flourish relentlessly, and we increasingly resort to it to help us carry out all the obligations and to-do’s that daily life demands from us. The problem could arise when these inoffensive tools end up being unshakeable habits that automate your routine to the point of not having to even think. It’s almost like science fiction for a machine (or at least a process that compiles information) to make decisions for us, but as we have seen, little by little, and in almost every field that you can imagine, we are increasingly more dependant on it.
Although bizarre, and at times improbable, the British TV series Black Mirror does a good job at illustrating some of these problems using stand-alone episodes centered on the dangers of technology. As a perfect example, one of the episodes proposes the idea that in the near future we will be able to give birth to a virtual being whose conduct is based on the trace that a person has left on social networks throughout his/her life.
Obviously, this is an extreme case in which an identity is created simply by data stored throughout time. Even still, the apps that we previously mentioned, and the technological evolution that surrounds us, suggests that we are increasingly more governed by virtual entities and external recommendations than our decisions. Could we become less human if we continue to set aside the ability to make decisions?