Having run AdWords campaigns and seen the impact that a local listing on Google Maps can have on a business, it’s surprising how much power Google has on influencing consumer buying behaviour. The ability to find information quickly, get answers, and present the results that it seems best is of huge value but also is so impactful.
The result, however, is the shear volume of information that Google can collect about us. I can see all the places I was visiting five years ago via Google Maps Timeline. Every search that I’ve made from every IP address. Even every call, potentially the voice from Google Hangouts/Duo. My voice searches on different devices over years.
Google in some ways is a utility, providing their own fibre to some cities and maybe Google Fi could even count as a wireless service provider. However, what I mean is more whether the services provided by Google are becoming so necessary for the survival of businesses and day to day activities that they’re deemed a critical utility and that a SLA needs to be enshrined into public law.
The biggest concern of mine is when Google starts to apply AI in ways that will create a significant advantage to those who use these services versus those who don’t. Perhaps Google Duplex will be the example where the time savings from using this service are so great that those who haven’t or can’t embrace end up having do to a lot more work (reschedule their own appointments, take time out of work to handle bill payments, etc). Maybe those who use Google Health will be so much healthier that those who can’t because they haven’t agreed to certain T&Cs of Google will have a large health consequence.
Over the next decade, the impact of AI will be so great that it may create a new class of those who use it versus those who don’t or can’t. Should we start looking at how we can prevent a large power gap?