In the quest to solve a hundred problems, we have created a billion more.
Digital is a part of our lives no more. It now shapes humanity.
In the early ages, life after dark was constrained. Candles and lamps were fraught with dangers. The world could be brighter and days could be longer. A series of light sources, down to the latest LED lights was built upon the invention of Alessandro Volta’s “Voltaic pile”. No one ever needed to ask the question — What would it do to our society?
It is only wishful thinking and beyond the wildest imagination that the world could ever be that simple. The world used to be fragmented by geography. The Internet made a bridge across oceans. The internet led to an unmanageable quantity of information floating around in limbo. Google helped catalog it.
A single user can consume only so much digital content. How to increase the value of per minute of user consumption? Personalization was bred, born, and groomed.
The offer of personalization comes at cost of trespassing in your personal space, walking over your inherent preferences, and more dangerously shaping your thoughts and inclinations. It is primarily the way data is obtained, how and to what conclusions are drawn that bothers me. And the extreme lack of transparency.
If Google were to advertise to me every day — “You should be a farmer” in different flavors, I might end up abandoning my Product Manager job to travel to a small island and take up farming. There are worse things to convince people of. Convincing an impressionable teenager, hailing from a low-income background, to purchase an iPhone 11 Pro almost sounds like a crime. So does influencing how you vote. Technology has accelerated, taken sharp and sharper turns, and is now intertwined and entangled in its own web.
It is imperative, for the well-being of our society, that we solve the following problems impacting us in big, small, and often unknown ways.
Personalization, but without stalking
Cell Phones are rapidly becoming importance-adjacent to food. Digital sustenance will be soon considered under the primary needs of humans.
Hoards of products, companies vie every second for a moment of your attention. As consumers, the value derived is in terms of the customized offering, personalized discounts, and many more.
But a huge part of the population does not stop to think of the cost involved.
Every step we take, every click we make becomes a part of our profile.
Most of the Products and services we consume lie in boxes 2 and 4.
Quadrant 1 would be ideal. If not, users should be provided an option to choose the amount of personalization they want.