Humans are easy to fake out. If we are cold, we can adjust a thermostat (even one not attached to anything) and it will make us feel warmer. If we are waiting to cross the street, we have been proven to be more patient if we can push a cross-walk button. Even if it doesn’t affect wait time.
So, when all of these systems are controlled by computers, how will they manipulate our sense of control? Will we mind?
Today, you can get a smart thermostat and you can make suggestions to it, expressing your opinions about your comfort level, but ultimately the device will decide. What if other things in our life were like that?
What if our autonomous cars brought us to the doctor when it sensed a fever or to the police station to pay an outstanding parking ticket? What if our wearable device took us on a longer walking route when we had the time in order to get extra steps and burned calories to achieve a calculated ideal weight as dictated by our insurance company? What if an angrily-toned email was put into a mandatory “cool down” period hold before you could send it as outlined by our corporate cultural standards? What if some future birth control, performance enhancing drugs, or the like was administered for the common good or to help you achieve some goals that you established? What if some of these things happened when we believed we had more choice and control? Where will be tomorrow’s fake button?