social media

Google robots: clever creation or a step too far?

Search giants Google aim to create a new software which can analyse the way in which we communicate on social networks and generate suggested responses to messages.

Search giants Google aim to create a new software which can analyse the way in which we communicate on social networks and generate suggested responses to messages.
This software, which serves the purpose of an online robot, can also analyse conversations and flag up messages that may need a more personal response.
Stay connected
With humans today being more connected than ever, the internet in the form of social networks provides us with a platform to stay in touch with family and friends. It can be a massive task managing all the messages, notifications and status updates that social networks throw at us – sometimes it all gets all too much.
Software engineer Ashish Bhatia said: “It is often difficult for users to keep up with and reply to all the messages they are receiving.”
Some might agree with Bhatia, in that for example, 18-24 year olds average around 510 friends on Facebook. No matter how social-network savvy you are, notifications concerning more than 500 friends can get seriously annoying, not to talk of the tediousness of dealing with them.
Google’s robot software is definitely an interesting idea, but there has to be a line where technology stops. The implementation of this software would only take us further down the slippery slope towards technology taking over simple tasks which us as humans can do – all in the name of convenience.
A more positive example of this happening is the introduction of self-checkouts in supermarkets, which reduces waiting time and allows for a smoother shopping experience. Technology used in this way has proven successful, but a social network suggesting how to reply to a message from a close friend doesn’t quite sit right with me.
Future problems
Technology expert Hadley Beeman rightly outlines the potential problem with Google’s system, questioning how it could possibly gauge the dynamics of different relationships.
She stated: “The problem is that the ‘important stuff’ (or the trivial) depends on what our relationship is.”
An individual’s relationship with their boss is very different to that with their parents for example, even though one may receive similar messages from both. A message received which seems unimportant may actually be very important for reasons which the system cannot recognise.
The argument that keeping up with social networks involves too much juggling is one easily quashed – many of us know that a large proportion of the time we spend on social networks is essentially wasted time, a prime example being the time many pour into adding all of those pointless mutual friends on Facebook. Do we really need more than 1000+ friends who we never get in contact with? No, not at all. It could easily be half this number.
While technology has taken on an essential role in our lives today, we as humans must not fall into the trap of overestimating the usefulness of high tech resources. Whether we have 500 notifications to manage or only five, the solution to dealing with them need not lie with Google, but instead with ourselves. It’s quite simple really – we just need to prioritise.
Do you think Google robots are a good idea? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @KettleMag.
Photo: Crystl / Flickr