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Fire your fortune teller: AI is our new crystal ball

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Here for the optimized health data, tailored learning, and identifying new statement earrings for the collection, not here for the threats to autonomy and privacy. What could happen if AI starts predicting our future?


Written by Morgan McVay, Director of Accounts at Blokhaus

In a world where technology continually astounds us, imagine if it could also predict our future. Yes, yes… it, of course, will have dozens of economical solutions for businesses and markets by sifting through data and unearthing patterns, but what I’m talking about is a personalized ‘fortune teller’ that helps you pick the optimized path in life. I suggest that's the tantalizing promise of AI-driven predictive modeling. Tempting right?

Gaze into the future

In the not-so-distant future, AI algorithms will be primed and ready to use our habits, actions, and personal details to map tailor-made predictions about our lives. Think of it this way – how you work out, where you want to take your career, even sifting through ideal dating site matches, this data might just be the crystal ball we all wish we could call upon.

But that sounds a bit too futuristic sci-fi, right? Well, think again. You're probably already using tech that's collecting info about your behaviors to help you out at this very moment. Who hasn't kept a digital calendar, logged their steps, or tracked their sleep with apps like Google, FitBit, or Garmin? You’ve probably accepted cookies on the very site you’re reading this on! It might seem like simple, helpful tidbits now, but down the road, imagine all that data being pooled together into one comprehensive dashboard for you to use, and make day-to-day choices. 

For example, my AI genie would craft a whole wake-up routine to help me roll out of bed on dreadful Monday mornings. It would then let me know how long I need to walk my high-energy dog based on his level of chaos that morning and infuse important caffeine breaks into my work calendar to get me through back-to-back meetings. Most days, we all need someone who can do a little thinking on our behalf to make the day smoother, right?

Fortune favors the data

With that simple example in mind, now just think about how incredible that level of personal information could be to help streamline and inform other decisions we face in life.

  • Personal style and wardrobe curation
    Feeling like you have nothing to wear will be a thing of the past. Soon, AI will be able to analyze our past purchasing behavior, style, size, and the latest trends that you might like to make recommendations on clothing choices. Those choices could be made to ensure you always feel your best, be weather-appropriate, or even help you anticipate what you need ahead of important events.

  • A roadmap to better health
    The most obvious (and sought-after) use case is AI predictive modeling for your doctor(s) to assess your current and historical health data and anticipate lifestyle habit recommendations, such as exercise routines and dietary choices. Creating this optimized and personal wellness plan could help you avoid a future major health crisis. The question is, will this predictive data make a difference in the peskiest human condition of all? That is, not taking lifestyle recommendations from doctors.  
  • Customized learning that learns from  you 
    Customized learning plans could help school systems and students get their desired boost. Imagine adaptive learning platforms that have access to tailored lessons, speedily customized to how each individual student learns best – it'll be like having your very own tutor from pre-K all the way through post-doctorate programs, constantly learning from your learning style. 

The prediction paradox

With unlimited potential, comes ethical implications. Privacy concerns already loom large, as the collection and analysis of personal data raise questions about consent and autonomy. Moreover, the specter of algorithmic bias reminds us that predictive models are only as good as the data they're built upon. Without careful attention, these models risk perpetuating inequalities and even freedom of thought and choice.

  • Privacy invasion
    Predictive modeling and targeted advertising, both rely on extensive access to personal data and raise significant concerns about privacy infringement and unauthorized access to sensitive information. Using personalized information to further enhance targeted advertising creates new concerns around user consent, autonomy, and the erosion of online privacy being used against us for commercial benefit.
  • Bias in the data
    When AI models use data, they will always risk keeping and even exasperating existing biases, especially for those already facing societal challenges. Very easily, these models can end up doubling down on harmful or offensive stereotypes and allow unfair targeting and discrimination. 
  • Loss of critical thinking
    The one I personally fear the most. For someone who prefers the road less traveled – relying too much on predictive models may make us feel like our choices aren't really our own anymore. It’s a very real possibility that algorithms may start driving decisions and suppressing spontaneity. We may stop relying on our instincts – you know, our gut feelings, creative ideas, and big-picture thinking. This can end up stifling innovation and creativity in the long run, putting us in a bit of a bind and maybe going so far as to challenge what it means to be human.

What does the future hold?

With the irresistible appeal of AI continuously trickling into our lives, it makes you wonder what’s on the horizon. While I’m personally excited by the opportunity it will bring to my statement earring collection and planning my future vacations, I hold tight to the importance of safeguarding my autonomy and privacy. Are you ready to upgrade your crystal ball, too?