A leaked internal video from Google portrays the company’s vision of “total data collection.”
The 2016 video made by Google X’s Head of Design Nick Foster was obtained by the Verge, and discusses how users could choose a “life goal,” which Google then attempts to steer them towards through personalization.
“It imagines a future of total data collection, where Google helps nudge users into alignment with their goals, custom-prints personalized devices to collect more data, and even guides the behavior of entire populations to solve global problems like poverty and disease,” declared the Verge, who reported that “the middle section of the video presents a conceptual Resolutions by Google system, in which Google prompts users to select a life goal and then guides them toward it in every interaction they have with their phone.”
“The examples, which would ‘reflect Google’s values as an organization,’ include urging you to try a more environmentally friendly option when hailing an Uber or directing you to buy locally grown produce from Safeway,” they explained, adding that, “The system would be able to ‘plug gaps in its knowledge and refine its model of human behavior’ — not just your particular behavior or mine, but that of the entire human species.”
After the Verge reached out to Google’s X team for comment, a spokesman responded, “We understand if this is disturbing — it is designed to be. This is a thought-experiment by the Design team from years ago that uses a technique known as ‘speculative design’ to explore uncomfortable ideas and concepts in order to provoke discussion and debate. It’s not related to any current or future products.”