“For Internal Use Only” Google Video Leaked… and It Is Creepy

Joe Scudder
Written by Joe Scudder

The Google video is called The Selfish Ledger and it seems to be exploring a dystopian nightmare of humanity being controlled through data collection.

A link to the Google video, The Selfish Ledger, is provided at the end of this post, hosted by The Verge. A good review is found here:

Though Google claimed the video, which was never supposed to be viewed outside the company, was completely hypothetical, this isn’t plausible because why would a company make a video about data use that it wasn’t considering trying to implement? Also, reportedly, some of its patents support ideas in the Selfish Ledger.

The Verge reports, “Google’s Selfish Ledger ideas can also be found in its patent applications.

I trust by now we’ve all seen and been at least a little disturbed by The Selfish Ledger, the nearly 9-minute-long concept video from inside Google’s “moonshot factory” X labs. In the wake of it becoming public this week, Google quickly disavowed the video, claiming it was just a thought experiment “not related to any current or future products.” And yet, the company’s patent applications exhibit a mode of thinking that runs at least in parallel, if not on the exact same tracks, as The Selfish Ledger’s total data collection proposal.

A reader pointed me in the direction of a Google patent application from 2015, made public last year, titled “Detecting and correcting potential errors in user behavior.” A core part of the Selfish Ledger concept can be defined in very similar terms: its premise, on the individual level, is to help users with self-improvement and behavior modification.

In all honesty, the idea described in this patent document sounds all kinds of helpful. It proposes a system wherein your device would use information Google already collects — such as travel itineraries from your email inbox — and act on that knowledge if it detects you’re going astray.

Read the full Verge story.

And Fortune reports, “Google’s Hypothetical ‘Selfish Ledger’ Imagines Collecting All Your Data to Push You to Change Society.

In one example, the video describes how the ledger would ask you to create a life goal. It would then tell you what kind of activities to engage in to achieve that goal. So, for instance, if you want to lose weight, the ledger would see that you’re shopping for food on your phone and direct you to buy a healthier option. The video even suggests that some of the recommendations would “reflect Google’s values as an organization” to get you to reduce your carbon footprint.

While it’s unclear how Google would go about creating the technology, the implications could be major. The ledger would essentially collect everything there is to know about you, your friends, your family, and everything else. It would then try to move you in one direction or another for your or society’s apparent benefit. Privacy concerns and whether people would feel comfortable with a single company swaying public opinion would obviously come about […].

Read the full Fortune story.

Watch the video here.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com


About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

Don't Miss Out!!

Get your daily dose of Eagle Rising by entering your email address below.

Our Privacy Policy has been updated to support the latest regulations.Click to learn more.×
STAY IN THE LOOP
Don't miss a thing. Sign up for our email newsletter to become an insider.

Send this to a friend