In Philip K. Dick’s novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?“–better known for its 1982 Blade Runner film adaptation–the title refers to the empathetic aspect of humans for animals that Androids lack. As our devices and the algorithm gets closer to replicating our brains and appearance the novel explores deep ethical questions arise about what is human and therefore how they should be treated. I won’t take the tangent, but it’s worth giving the nod to how this line of thinking relates to current debates around equality working its way through the courts today in California. Back to the post at hand, there’s a genius and an irony to Google’s novel reference through the Android name in their development for our most personal, connected devices–the mobile platform. Unlike our PCs and web browsers where we taught/teach the search algorithm mainly through intent (search) and behaviors (clicks) billions of times a day, on mobile we begin to expose more of us to the algorithm. In our voice inflections and dialects combined with our location, calendars and real-life friends, expressed in time on the phone and in person, we’re teaching the algorithm our more intimate aspects of those people, places and things we care about most. The mobile platform is a feeder system of millions of devices serving billions of transactions/interactions into a smarter and more intuitive cloud-based algorithm. So, perhaps in time Androids will dream and awake.
In the meantime enjoy snacking on this teaser video for the new Samsung Android-based Galaxy Tab tablet debuting in Europe next month: