Computerized Discouragement

from the don't-bug-me-now dept

In a great followup to recent stories about automating the hiring process and automating the matchmaking process, this writer is wondering if such technologies can’t be used to make personalization systems better match your personality and your mood. He points to a study that shows that, in a game where a computer gives users encouraging words (“You can do it!”), players do better than one where it gives discouraging words – and worries that companies are going to misinterpret the results to mean that we’re always going to be getting annoyingly bland and sickly sweet “encouragement” from our computers (“You can complete this letter! Your computer believes in you!”). For many people, this sort of “encouragement” gets to be pretty damn annoying, pretty damn fast. So, instead of focusing on how to find a better job or a better date, it would be great if such personalization technology could be used to figure out that the last thing a person wants to hear after struggling through some frustrating operation on their computer is: “The problem will soon be happily over.”

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Comments on “Computerized Discouragement”

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the diddy says:

OS personalization in literature

The book FORMAT C: involved a computer system that engendered widespread personal dependence on the computer by asking lots of personalizing questions in order to provide a more individualized computing experience. Meanwhile, the OS collected personal data and sent it back to the manufacturer, who used it to engineer an apocalptic millennium plot. Ridiculous book but decent futurism.

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