Hyperpersonalization Creates Bubbles Of One
A while back, I wrote a post on hyperpersonalization impeding innovation – which discussed how keeping people in their little cocoons by surrounding them with a completely personalized experience to themselves will hamper innovation. I mentioned that in a world where everything is personalized to your needs, how can you come across moments of serendipity which can lead to new ideas and innovation?
Well, I found it very interesting the other day when I called for an Uber when I was up in San Francisco last week. As my car was arriving, my phone chimed and asked if I wanted to listen to my music in the car. My first thought – as an innovator who is always interested and open to new experiences – was no, why would I want that? I want to talk to the driver, I want to see if he or she has anything interesting to say, something that might trigger a new idea or a new thought or a new juxtaposition of thoughts. Or even just be exposed to whatever music the driver was playing in the car. So I said no, so I guess I will never know how Uber was going to make the magic happen to play my music in the car. I had a nice conversation with the driver, nothing earth shattering, and listened to some very nice jazz.
Made me think: here I am talking about the Seamless World, where the world simply modifies itself around you in order to fulfill what you need magically without asking, and I’m personally snubbing a perfectly good example of something that would probably happen in that world: the strains of music that I like automatically start playing as I enter the car. Why did I resist? Aren’t I interested in eating my own dog food, so to speak?
The danger behind the seamless world, at least for innovators, inventors, and other creative types, is that it will be too perfect, our environment perfectly shaped in order to keep us comfy and warm (and least mentally). For some, that will be great – a smooth, shake-free world. For others, we thrive on the new, the different, the strange. It challenges us, it makes us think, it expands our brains.
So we have to make sure that when we do implement the seamless world and everything up to it, we need to make sure that serendipity is maintained. That random events can occur. That creativity can still spike from juxtaposition.
Life need not be smooth all the time. Otherwise, it would be boring.