Google has built a multibillion-dollar business out of knowing everything about its users. Now, a video produced within Google and obtained by The Verge offers a stunningly ambitious and unsettling look at how some at the company envision using that information in the future.
The video was made in late 2016 by Nick Foster, the head of design at X (formerly Google X), and shared internally within Google. 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.
This is exactly as dystopian and deeply creepy as you think it is. My biggest concern is not that this video exists or that companies such as Google are thinking about this – my biggest concern is that a whole generation of people already seem to accept this as the new normal even before it’s a reality.