Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing fired off his top picks from the O’Reilly emerging technology conference, and here’s one of the new techno-jargon VC buzzwords you can expect to make the rounds over the next few months: MyWare.
MyWare is spyware you deploy against yourself, to record all your own
online activities and–presumably–use to teach your computer how to
serve you better.
I’m not sure I like it, but Doctorow seems pretty sold:
“I love this idea: people are good at making decisions and computers are
good at counting them (and computers are bad at making decisions and
people are bad at counting them). My computer should note, count and
process every decision I make — it should notice that I never answer
emials from certain people, it should notice that I never click through
certain stories in my reader, that I load certain pages every day, that
I often search my mailbox for certain kinds of messages and so on.
That’s stuff I’m totally unqualified to keep track of, and that
computers are really good at.”
Setting aside the notion that any data you invoke can be stolen or
hacked, I’m simply not sold on programmers’ or computers’ ability to
act effectively on this kind of data. It reeks of Clippy the MS Office
component that put the @$$ in online assistance. I’m a believer in
simple, intuitive interfaces that let the user expressly choose
specific actions, rather than automated systems that guess what I want
and presume to act on it without my desire or permission. But then, I’m
a control freak, and my idea of good design is almost never what big
developers agree with, so here’s betting myware becomes one of the top
five VC pitch-words of 2006.