Destroying Free Will

Mark Nitzberg, Olaf Groth and Mark Esposito, AI isn’t just taking away our privacy—it’s destroying our free will, too, Quartz, December 14, 2017

Reduced choice

By replacing human-curated judgement with data-backed judgement, AI ultimately narrows our field of vision and reduces our social and economic choices—in retail, dating, entertainment, education, health care, and job opportunities. Taken individually, the nudges of mercantile and political interests may be of little consequence. But en masse, our lives become more and more subtly influenced and molded by the companies we let make decisions for us.

Through the WI Lens

Earlier this week, the scathing attack of a former Facebook senior executive against the behemoth went viral. He expressed “tremendous guilt” over his work at Facebook, confessing that social media is in the business of exploiting vulnerabilities in human psychology. Most notably, he said: “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works.”

This week’s article should be read in the context of the monumental backlash currently brewing against tech in general and social media in particular. It makes a fundamental point: we look at AI (Artificial Intelligence) in terms of privacy issues, but the more fundamental problem is that it narrows our choices. This, we think, will have major medium and long-term implications on the wellbeing industry – particularly hospitality and retail. The industry is currently in love with big data and the way in which machine learning can leverage it for client retention and acquisition. But what will happen when the customers increasingly realize that the choices they make are not their own but those generated by an algorithm without their conscious involvement? Many will try to seek alternatives to regain part of their free will. For hotels and retail businesses, any offering that is not obviously algorithm generated that has a capacity to surprise in terms of place or experience will have an edge. Human-curated ideas and judgment will play an increasingly significant role as compared to data-backed decisions.

Gut Feelings

April 16, 2019

Could Therapy Be Key To Treating Your IBS? – Huffington Post, 11 April 2019, Natasha Hinde

Radicalise Movement

April 2, 2019

Sitting down for too long may be causing 70,000 UK deaths a year – The Guardian, 26 March 2019, Nicola Davis

Humans Back In Vogue

March 26, 2019

Human Contact Is Now a Luxury Good – New York Times, 23 March 2019, Nellie Bowles

Sickness to Debt to Sickness

March 19, 2019

Americans Are Going Bankrupt From Getting Sick, The Atlantic, 15 March 2019, Olga Khazan

On The Money

March 12, 2019

Why the future of well-being isn’t about money, 26 Feb 2019, Justin Dupuis

Bread Culture

March 5, 2019

With bread’s return to favor in the wellness world, consumers are ritualizing the baking process as an opportunity to slow down. JWT Intelligence, 28 February 2019, Emily Safian-Demers

Ikea Purity

February 26, 2019

Ikea’s new curtains purify the air inside your house – Fast Company, 20 Feb 2019, Jesus Diaz


February 19, 2019

Insectageddon – Politicians are complicit in the killing of our insects – we will be next – Guardian 12 February 2019 – Molly Scott Cato

Goop, Delta, Netflix

February 12, 2019

Goop Enters Netflix Deal: Has Pseudoscience Found A New Platform? Forbes, 9 Feb 2019, Bruce Y. Lee

Race Ready Workplace

February 5, 2019

5 ways work culture will change by 2030, Fast Company, February 4th 2019 Gwen Moran

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