Sure, Facebook is quite invasive but things are nowhere near as invasive now as they will be in the future. While Facebook owns many patents, some of them and even some of the pending ones are a bit unsettling at best.
Facebook and Google already have tons of data on all of us, that much we know but as technology progresses what all could these companies end up being in control of? Well, realistically there is no limit. I recently came across an article on the NYTimes that went over some of the creepiest patents Facebook has/has applied for and was shocked at what was on the list.
Don’t get me wrong, just because a patent has been applied for doesn’t mean the technology for these things exists currently but it does mean it could in the future and that working on it might already be underway. One of these patents that has actually been grated includes being able to ‘identify your camera.’ That entailing that they would put a unique signature on all the photos you take.
This meaning that all of your photos would have faulty pixels or lens scratches somewhere on them to trace them back to your phone specifically. So if you were to take a picture with someone and then send it to them and they were to upload it, Facebook would know that your camera was the one the photo originally came from. Pretty sketchy now, isn’t it?
Now, the patent application that stood out the most to me, amongst the relationship predicting and personality classifying was the one that would literally predict our future. This patent application goes over how the social media giant would use our posts, messages, credit card transactions, location, and more to predict when different major life events were going to happen. This predicting anything from graduation dates, births of children to come, and even our own deaths. I know, I was also pretty blown away when I read it. Click here to take a look.
The abstract of this patent application goes as follows:
To predict a life change event for a user of the social networking system, such as a change in marital status, relationship status, employment status, etc., the disclosed system generates a training set of data comprising historical data of other users who have gone through a life change event. The system uses the training set data to generate a prediction algorithm using machine learning models. Furthermore, the system inputs the user data to the prediction algorithm to retrieve a prediction of whether the user will undergo one or more life change events. The system updates the user’s profile to indicate the life change event and provides advertisements to the user responsive to the prediction of one or more life change events.
Through using automated machine learning this potential software would look at how our lives are going and how other people’s lives are going all the while processing our data and making assumptions about the things to come. When something ‘major’ happens it will take that into account and analyze it in comparison to the ‘major’ events in other people’s lives and adjust from there. Eventually, as things progress it would most likely become quite accurate and whether it disclosed its findings to us or not, it would know far more about our lives and ‘futures’ than we could ever imagine it would.
How do you feel about this patent application and the patents mentioned? I for one would expect this kind of thing from the company but it does have me feeling quite nervous.