Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thanks for the help, cloud AI!

This is just a quick silly story that illustrates how the "intelligent" programs that monitor our lives can be both funny and creepy.
At my work, we have an intranet application -- something that runs in a web browser, but it's only visible from inside the office -- which tracks change requests and bugs we are working on. I am on the Client Account team, so most of my projects are identified with "CA-" and then a number, such as "CA-1234."
Usually after I have been working on one project for a while, I have memorized the number, and so I just type "CA-1234" into my browser. Since I have visited the feature page often, it automatically fills in the URL to take me there. But sometimes I mistype, or it doesn't work for some other reason, so my browser helpfully pulls up a Google search for CA-1234 instead.
That does not contain any information that is useful to me. However, it does often match a flight number on China Airlines.
So one morning I got an alert on my Android. It was Google's calendar program. It told me "It's time to leave for the airport if you want to catch that flight on China Airlines that you looked up!"


  1. For our own ticket-tracking system, I've found it very useful to add a quick-search to the browsers that I use, such that "tt 12345" expands to https://ticket-tracking.dom.ain/search?ticket-id=12345". (Names have been changed to protect confidentiality.)
    Unfortunately, half the time I mistype the macro and wind up searching for "tr 12345" or some such.
    One of these days, I'm sure I'll wind up with a reminder to leave to catch TWA 12345, like you.

  2. Thanks for sharing. Creepy indeed. They are making google to smart. Pretty soon it will start nagging us like a bitchy spouse.