Google already knows far more about you than you may realise.
Now, an internal Google video has leaked that provides an unnerving glimpse into how the firm could use that wealth on information to control your behaviour.
The video sets the scene for a Black Mirror-style future in which machines know your needs even before you do, and are able to manipulate you to follow their own agendas.
Google admits the video is ‘disturbing’, but stresses that it’s simply a thought experiment.
However, with the misuse of private data at the forefront of people’s minds following Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, the concepts outlined in the footage are likely to raise concerns.
The video was made two years ago by Nick Foster, the head of design at X and a co-founder of the Near Future Laboratory and obtained by the Verge.
In it, he imagines being able to nudge users towards their goals using data collected on their devices.
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Titled ‘The Selfish Ledger’, the 9-minute film begins with a history of Lamarckian epigenetics.
This is the concept of passing on traits acquired during an organism’s lifetime.
It originated in 1809, when French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck published the first theory for evolution.
He claimed the physiological traits of an entire species are passed from one generation to another via an internal code.
He believed that the experiences of an organism during its life modified this internal code, and this updated version was then passed down to an organism’s offspring.
For example, this theory claims that if a person regularly went to the gym and developed…