Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Algorithmic Diet

The piece that I referenced in yesterday's post, the one on algorithmic content engines and news, had me imagining sort of a bizarre Twilight Zone version.

Imagine if everything we ate was tracked. logged, and then patterned. What would happen if an algorithm was able to control our diet, serving us food based on it's guess as to our preferences?

One variation might appeal totally to your preferences:
  • Hmmm. You really seem to like cookies a lot, perhaps I should serve them more frequently.
  • Oh look, you can't seem to stop eating bacon and you like it on everything. This seems like a good choice too. 
  • You eat french fries remorselessly, this is clearly a good choice. 
How long do you think it would be before vegetables disappeared entirely from your feed? 

Perhaps another variation might be the "healthy" version that only serves you healthy food. At least, this is what the "experts" from the "independent" organization promoting the implementation of this would tell you. "This is our chance to transform the world, to end health problems based on poor diet choices."

Meanwhile, the most likely result would be a sponsor-driven feed:
  • Why would you want water when you can enjoy our new, healthy zero calorie soda product?
  • Feel like a kid again with our sugar-frosted granola-blast cereal.
  • Don't waste your time making something unhealthy -- just microwave this complete Easy-bake retro meal designed by our new Semi-homemade Food Network star. It comes complete with a table-scape to make you feel like your meal is special.

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