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Futurist Keynote, Germany: The End of Choice with NIM



During this keynote session futurist Matthew Griffin discusses the future of choice and the algorithmic society where Artificial Intelligence and machines are increasingly making our choices for us while at the same time giving us the “illusion” of freedom of choice.


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Firstly, thank you to Sandra, the CEO at the Nuremberg Institute of Market Decsions, for asking me to be their keynote at the annual European marketing summit in Nuremberg which, because of COVID-19 hasn’t run now in person for more than two years. Having selected the End of Choice as their topic it was my pleasure to wow the audience and bring to the surface innovations and business norms that mean the freedom of choice we have as humans is now increasingly little more than an illusion.


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Today we all live in a world where there is more choice than ever before, but in an increasingly algorithmic society choice – the act of choosing between one or more things – is now all too often an act we leave to the machines. And, whether it’s the biased corporate algorithms powering our smart devices, or the algorithms powering our web searches, increasingly it’s those machines that are deciding the best options for us – rightly or wrongly – and then asking us to choose between the choices they’ve made. Which then begs the question: Are we really choosing for ourselves? Or are we all just mindlessly pressing the “Buy” button for goods that are at best mediocre fit for our needs?


The End of Choice keynote, rewind and replay


It’s an odd world, and one where increasingly our freedom to choose is being undermined as we not only put more trust in the machines, but also delegate more decision making to them in the name of convenience.


OpenAI's robot hand handles objects with human-like dexterity


Furthermore, while many of us think that this new norm is just limited to the purchase of consumer goods it isn’t – it’s creeping into every part of society, whether it’s machines making buying decisions for themselves, firing and hiring decisions, or even playing the dominant role in helping choose our life long partners. All of which is just the very tip of the iceberg and, unless we’re vigilant, the start of a very slippery slope.

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