When do you get to live your own life?

This 2014 Cambridge/Stanford study asserted that for Facebook users, a computer can be a better judge of who your real self is: better than your social contacts, and in some aspects, than yourself.

There were many elements to this study. Let’s take one – impulsivity – which should be a multifaceted judgment relating to one’s own limbic system and especially lower brain, whose signature is instinctual survival reactions.

The self-assessed correlation score was .52, which was better than the computer score of .28, which was better than the .26 social contacts score.

I interpreted the impulsivity scores as people internally knowing who they really were better than what they displayed externally. A finding of the “duh” variety, although not counter to the study’s headlines.

What do you think about this study’s statement?

“Furthermore, in the future, people might abandon their own psychological judgments and rely on computers when making important life decisions, such as choosing activities, career paths, or even romantic partners. It is possible that such data-driven decisions will improve people’s lives.”

I think that’s generally possible. Whether that’s individually possible depends on who you really are.

If all your life you’ve accepted being constantly told what to do, and accepted being forced to do things “for your own good” then yes, you may accept a computer program as a substitute for your parents’ or some other external party’s authority over your life.

If this describes you, I ask: When do you get to live your own life?

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/4/1036.full “Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans”

3 thoughts on “When do you get to live your own life?

  1. Loved your article, I am certain that humans can leverage the knowledge that computers eventually will deliver about themselves. We are working on a dream to help people identify what are the best job compatibility, but this is only the beginning. But the people should be clear that this is only a recommendation a very good one, but computers have no way on knowing that doing what they say will end up with the best results.
    The decision is up to the people and should always be, like using a GPS.

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