Monday, October 14, 2013

Perfection, Algorithms to Optimize Human Existence: SxSw 2013

In this Future 15 session, Byron Reese claimed the widespread proliferation of cheap sensors of all kinds will create a vast "collective memory," a record of every cause and effect. This data will be mined for associations that will be turned into algorithms to optimize every decision we make, from where to eat dinner to what job to apply for.

We learn from our previous experiences, but imagine having the life experience of everyone at your immediate recall. In theory you could make the perfect decision every time. We're not talking about ethical perfection, but technical perfection.

We may not always choose to do those things, it will effectively make every person on the planet vastly wiser than the wisest person who has ever lived. It will be wisdom at processor speed.

This session bordered on the creepy. Our presenter argued that with this sort of technology the point we are at now will be the equivalent of drunken sailors on shore leave. But, isn't it kind of fun to be a drunken sailor on leave?

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