This origami snake is where GoogleEarth thinks we live. The shape of our house hasn't changed much over the years, yet Google's algorithms still paint an absurdly distorted picture of it.
Meanwhile, we often hear that Google and others have so much data on each of us, and such sophisticated algorithms, that they've built realistic portraits of our preferences and desires, even our personalities. Corporations buy these "pictures" of us to try and sell us more stuff, while governments use them to identify subversive, "lone wolf" threats and such.
But if Google can't even model the simple box of our house, how can we expect their complex personality algorithms to be even remotely accurate?
I'm not sure what to think. It's nice not to be so perfectly predicted. On the other hand, one wouldn't want to be mistakenly identified as a terrorist by some over-zealous algorithm.
Just today, I received five spam phonecalls spruiking products I can't possibly use (no HVAC ducts to clean, sorry). And just today, the New South Wales Police announced a new "Fixated Persons Unit" to target "potentially extremist" individuals. The Thought Police, basically.
So, we're living in some Brave New 1984 World, in which the system always thinks it's right -- except sometimes it's just silly broken.
Oh, and that big island on the horizon? It doesn't exist in real life.