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This creepy Google 'thought experiment' shows a computer shaping human behavior

Your smartphone already knows a lot about you: where you go, what you buy, and what you're searching online.

But The Verge revealed that Google has imagined taking that knowledge much, much further. An eerie video produced by X, Google's futuristic concept lab, shows users creating a data "ledger" as a device learns about each person's preferences, goals, and decisions over time.

For example, if a user's goal was to protect the environment (a goal that "reflects Google's values as an organization"), Google would prompt the user to make environmentally friendly choices at the store or when hailing an Uber. If Google doesn't know enough about a user to make the right recommendations, it can 3D-print new devices to collect even more information, like a scale to learn a user's weight.

Rather than making devices user-centric, the video asks, "what if the ledger could be given a volition or purpose?" The stored data doesn't have to just sit there, it could be guiding multigenerational life decisions, Google suggests.

Google told The Verge that the concept was meant to be "disturbing" and thought-provoking, and said it was not related to any current or future products. Even so, the creepy video is enough to inspire a viewer to power down their phone — at least until they feel a phantom vibration. Read more at The Verge.