“Parameterize” was the hot word at the MWC


March 2015, article published in El Periódico de Catalunya

“Parameterize” was the hot word at the MWC

The Internet is parameterized, who will unparameterize it? The parameterizer that unparameterizes it will make a killing.

I was at the Mobile Congress a few days ago as part of an IESE expedition to explore the world of the connected tourist (thanks to the organizers of the WMC for taking care of us). I thought it would be an intimate event and I would cross paths with Mark (Zuckerberg) and Bill (Gates) on every corner but it wasn’t like that (my congratulations to the organization, an unquestionable success).

After getting over the Mobile hangover, I have two conclusions.

The first: there is life beyond mobile. The second: an important part of the novelties presented hinged on personalization. You know, the technology that adapts itself to us to make our lives easier.

Difficult choices of a businessman

It went like this:
Visit stand 1, brand X. It’s all very simple, you just have to introduce your preferences and when it arrives at your house you can have the intensity of light that you want, it will raise or lower the curtains to your liking and of course you can see your messages on your smart television. You just have to establish the parameters that you want and the system adapts to you.

Visit stand 2, brand Y. In your car you will have the possibility of establishing a route that you want your vehicle to follow, and what’s more, if you like, the car can ask how your day was. It’s very simple, define the parameters that will turn your vehicle into an extension of yourself (??)

Visit stand 3, brand Z. Your mobile phone will know you perfectly and will know how you would like to receive consolidated information from your social networks with which you can navigate freely. Create a profile with your parameters and this way the phone will understand you.

Well ok, neither liberty, nor comprehension, nor extension, nor adaptation. With this technological cocktail it is we who are adapting to what the machine wants in endless developments created by multiple producers. That is, for now I see us deeply submitting to technology. Because for the machine to adapt itself to us it demands that we parameterize ourselves, summing up our lives in a drop-down menu with 6 variables.

You fit into one of the 6, or you fit into one of the 6. There is no plan B if you want a machine that “adapts” to you. So I see two paths. The first, more complicated and a bit longer-term, that machines get to know us and learn from us (this is heading into artificial intelligence territory). The second, create a unique and more-friendly interface to avoid having to parameterize our lives.

We will gain much from talking with the machine, when we can see that the machine understands us, because in the end it will classify us into a category, but it will appear simpler to us. In either of the two paths there is a marvelous opportunity. So let’s unparameterize ourselves, the unparameterizer please unparameterizes us….