Honeycrisp, Inc. just announced a breakthrough new product that can read your body language and vital signs to determine your favorite TV programming, then automatically change channels to the programs you’ll like the best. Technology is meant to advance, this idea is simply the next logical step in the development of viewing technology. In many ways we already have programs like this in place, but among other media platforms. Netflix, Pandora, Spotify, Amazon, and so on; they all use algorithms to predict what songs, movies, shows, ads, or products we may be interested in. All of which are based on general likes and dislikes. Although, I do worry what the evasiveness of a product that literally examines your physical reactions and changes itself will do in the world of television.
Essentially, this breakthrough new product will be the end to television as we know it. Television will become entirely personalized. TV producers and writers will begin to make shows that cater to certain demographics and preferences. I fear this will kill creativity amidst the television world, writers won’t create shows they feel passionate about, or shows that are a wild cards, instead they’ll be pressured to create shows for certain groups of people based on data. All of our shows will be created with our needs, preferences, and ideologies in mind. In theory, this sounds a bit fantastic; the new technology will be a breathe of fresh air for those who are sick of the seemingly endless browsing the characterizes today’s television watching experience. Rather than having to sift through the muck ourselves, the new technology will figure it out for us. Except, what happens to choice and experimentation?
I worry there will be a noticeable decrease in the power of choice and personal character development. I think it’s good for people to experience things you may not otherwise experience. This technology will obliterate that. What happens with programing that isn’t inherently designed to bring good feelings or laughter; programming that isn’t defined as a “favorite’ but still necessary? People don’t tend to watch the news because it fills them with warmth and comfort, they watch the news because they can and should. Not everything we watch has to be our “favorite’ programming. I personally watch many shows, documentaries, movies, short videos, etc. out of pure unadulterated curiosity. Some things are incredibly surprising, they blow me away with their excellence – and others are complete shit. But the point is I still give those programs a shot.
On top of all that, the possibility for addiction is evident. According to the BLS American Time Use Survey, the average american watches 5.11 hours of television in a day. That adds up to approximately 9 years of our lives dedicated to sitting in front of a screen. I’m not opposed to tv watching, I think there is a lot in the world to be learned, and the television platform is an amazing way to absorb that information. The difference is I don’t want to spend 5.11 hours a day watching some terrible ( yet surprisingly addicting) show simply because it’s easy to become engrossed in its drama. I want the ability to challenge myself, broaden horizons, and I fear that won’t be possible while using this Honeycrisp, Inc. technology.