Living in the 21st century means you’re no longer anonymous.
Whether you own a social media account or not, our connected lives tell more about us, our habits, our preferences, and our daily routes than ever before — all in return for convenience.
The days of our social media intertwining with artificial intelligence-powered chatbots that can simplify our lives has arrived. In return for convenience, we share our wants, habits, and lifestyles with other humans and machines capable of learning about us and tracking our tastes.
There are more than 2.6 billion smartphones users worldwide and over 1.2 billion apps in the app stores. And with 85 percent of the time on smartphones spent on five non-native apps (like Facebook and Google), we’re simply overloaded. AI-powered chatbots offer us convenience (no need to type, just talk to the phone) and simplicity (such as the ability to connect with various apps).
That’s why it’s interesting that we’re so willing to make this trade. In a study by the University of Pennsylvania, more than 84 percent of respondents who participated in the survey wanted to have control over the data marketers collect on them. Yet 65 percent of those respondents realize they have increasingly lost that control, and have accepted their fate.
Ericsson, in its Mobility Report, predicts that the Internet of Things (IoT) will overtake mobile phones by 2018. Ericsson noted that the IoT devices include “connected cars, machines, utility meters, remote metering, and consumer electronics.” Our electrical appliances, such refrigerators and cookware, can now tell us if we have run out of certain foods, or if the food we’re preparing is overcooked. Although these features may seem cool and convenient, the data is transmitted back to the manufacturers. This means even our home activities are no longer confined.
Health buffs who love wearable technology trade in their privacy for their health data. Wearables such as Fitbit and Jawbone track their users’ fitness and sleep patterns, which are logged onto company databases. So now marketers know when we sleep, exercise, and do everything else in between.
With chatbots, we no longer need to type out the search terms in Google or other search engines to find out which movies are playing nearby. We can just ask the chatbot we’re using, and not only will it return the latest movie suggestions, you can also ask it to book movie tickets. Convenience is now at the tip of your tongue, not your fingertips.
For the sake of convenience, we conveniently forget that this data is collected by AI-powered programs. The more we use them, the more data we provide on our preferences, habits, lifestyle, and more. We let machine learning learn about us and our lives in return for convenience and progress.
As a marketer, I rejoice at the depth and breadth of data consumers have offered us. As a user and consumer, I wonder what the future holds for those of us who are scanned and tracked so often.
Our lives are now open books.