I have a few people in my life who are a little 'toxic' -- what if I got a nudge to ignore them, or that lunch date we promised simply 'fell' off the calendar.
This is the future.
It's not about the data gathered about you, our next fixation will be the data gathered about the people around you. I predict who you hang out with will be like diet and exercise, we'll manipulate body chemistry with friends.
I'm dipping into 'art science' it's a near-future version of art-science-fiction. Here's my pitch.
OK, I'm joking when I say -disrupt- it's become a way to make fun of silicon valley startups, but.... if there is an inch to be found in anything that is random, disorganized or could be tweaked for advantage, the software world will find it.
Have you noticed how friends make you feel? Some kick you in the butt and you exercise more, dress better, eat fish, think of a new project, feel a new job is possible, start a business... and others do just the opposite? Friends really are the new family, in cities like Seattle and Denver 40% of adults live alone. In the last couple years, sociology of friends has exploded with new studies, friends of friends influence if you smoke, lose weight, how you vote. New research has measured stress, inflammation... all the things that affect how your body fights disease, the underpinnings of your immune system could be manipulated with the people around you. No FDA approval required.
Friends are huge.... the most powerful mechanism to influence how you feel, and it's left to chance?
My imagined software 'Friend Nutrition' gives you a nudge... the comments and posts you see in your social media, the messages that get priority and you see first. A toxic meeting? Boom - canceled. Who you run into in the real world, those serendipitous introductions, friend-of-friend meetings at somethingorother. Not so accidental, the mathematics of networks can connect you to situations and people that are part of a nutritious mix. Amid a day of too much to do and too few real friend encounters - Friend Nutrition is an invisible nudge.
Yeah, I made up the results...but I asked friends in the know and looked at tons of academic studies, the behavioral change is probably even higher, but I wanted it to look believable.
How would this software make money? At the same time it serves up visible connections, it reverse bills for product placement - there is a fancy bike in the image, a can of LaCroix water, the car in the background of the selfie ...those companies get microbilled for visible product placement.
How? It's machine learning for the complex interaction of friends. It doesn't actually understand HOW you make friends, it just watches your response to people. Your friend network is limited, with maybe 150 casual friends and about 15 intimate friends - so the actual numbers are pretty reasonable.
The best sensors will be tracking your voice from the microphone on your phone - the pitch, timing, language analysis all very indicative of how you are responding. Think I'm making this up, check out the Sociometer study from MIT, company is now called Humanzye.
This whole system of an unsupervised machine learning for friends would be like AlphaGo from the DeepMind team acquired by Google. It mastered the complex game of Go. The complex system of moves, countermoves, and how a friendship forms, shifts and responds is something like a game. The training dataset for billions of social interactions exists, WE are training the social media dataset - it's huge, 500,000 comments a minute. 2 billion users of facebook, 80% of US internet users. Yes, it's learning how we interact, better than we understand ourselves.
Friend Nutrition - like a balanced meal of who to see, know and ignore.
Hell, I wrote this post, cause I imagine an academic team is working on this, and could use some encouragement :-).