Last week I briefly chatted with Social Media Week founder Toby Daniels about the technological singularity , which he sees as being inevitable. Simply said, the singularity will be the upcoming phase of evolution where we humans will join forces with artificial intelligence to jointly adapt to become a higher form of consciousness. This will enable seamless social sharing. For instance, when peeps hang out together with our smart phones, we won’t have to look down at our smartphones and notebooks and then look up to listen and then look down to Twitter and then look up. Instead, presumably, sharing will seamlessly appear on the screen that is our mind or something like that. I know I am not doing the concept justice. I heard some techies I know a few weeks ago joking about where the singularity chip should be placed – say, in thigh or forehead. I’m surprised to hear so many folks discussing this previous science fiction scenario seriously given the fact that some large number of the 750 million users of Facebook are challenged by mere changes in our Facebook accounts. Or, actually, come to think of it, maybe that is why the singularity is gaining steam.
Either way, the Facebook changes don’t phase me because I know that I will go play around with the interface, peer into the drop downs and snap around a few buttons to figure out how to do what I want to do. I’m also checking in every day with the leagues of tactical bloggers reporting full-time on Facebook’s new freckles whose job is to make them clear.
Still, I have a few impressions. I’m liking the upper right hand ticker that shows the comments and actions of my friends on each other’s pages. I’m nosy so I like the way I can see an ongoing conversation and pop in if I like. Facebook is also reporting who’s listening to what on Spotify. There’s no accounting for taste in music. I’ll just have to forgive. And some will think listening to my yoga music is like chewing glass, so the feeling will be mutual.
All of this feels very social in the same way that Google+ sharing does, very immediate and more seamless than anything Facebook has done in the past. It feels like they are getting closer to a more user-centric interface.
In this column, Mashable describes some of the privacy issues with the new Facebook Timeline.
These issues include all the sharing that could lead to share overload. We’ll now know everything our friends are listening to, watching and reading. We’ll have to be very careful when adding apps as the default settings could bring automatic sharing we don’t want. And finally, when your page is updated to the new Timeline design, some private aspects of your life could be displayed more publicly than they were on your previous settings. You’ll have to go in manually and close the drapes.
All in all Facebook has made a strong return volley to the Google+ project – which is open to the public now. We’ll just have to see how all this plays out for business.
If you’d like to see how close we are to the technological singularity, watch this TED talk by Ray Kurzweil. He sees it here in 25 years.
You can learn more about the major new features coming up by watching Facebook’s movie introducing Timeline.