Japera’s World

Response #3: Power in the hand of… Google

Posted on: February 10, 2009

It’s the Frankenstein theory. We have an Ingenuous idea to create something, to make life easier, to further our knowledge as we delve deeper into science and technology. As our creation takes life, we can’t help but be proud of our accomplishment. But all to soon, power shifts and then we become afraid of the monster we’ve created.

To put a modern twist on it… Even I’ve seen I-Robot. We use technology to create something to assist us in our daily lives. In this case, it was robots. Robot driven cars, robot driven maids, etc. We feed more and more into the product and pretty soon every household has access to robotic assistance. Then technology advances and the robot begins thinking for itself. In the end, the creator becomes the victim.

Now, I know these are pretty extreme examples and Google may never reach these monstrous proportions. But apparently some are beginning to seriously ponder the affects of Google’s rise to power. Let me illustrate by making comparisons. Two men, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, create a search engine from the confines of their small Stanford University dormitory. While not the basement of a mansion, such as was the birthplace of Frankenstein, still, you catch my drift. Their technological achievement was that their search engine pooled results based upon the most popular pages. Like the technology in I-Robot, their product, Google, soon caught on and growth was fast. According to Search, a book by John Battelle, ‘In the United States alone, 38 million people are using a search engine daily.’ 51 percent of these people conduct their searches on Google’s website. That number is rising.

As technology keeps advancing, and Google has the ability to do more and more, consumers are now becoming worried. Emails sail around the internet with subjects such as “Google knows where you live” and can give directions to your house by simply supplying a phone number. After the Privacy Act was initiated, Google could be called on to give the government information about what you searched on your home browser at anytime. In short, Google has access to numerous amounts of information, that because its called “the publics’ right to know,” is now only TOO accessible. To top it all off, according to Battelle and other industry insiders, Google and other search engines have the most promise of creating Artificial Intelligence. Cue the I-Robot and Frankenstein theme songs.

Still, with all this, I’m not worried. Its far too early to tell what will become of Google and frankly, to dwell on speculations at this point, would be a gross exaggeration and a waste of time. But remember this, the humans defeat the machines in I-Robot and in the Frankenstein disappears, never to be seen again.


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