Today I had a computer tell me some things that a computer or even a person would most likely not know.
I was setting up an online account. I’d only provided my name and address. Then suddenly a screen came up asking me to verify my identity with several multiple choice questions.
One of the questions was, “Which of the following people are you associated with?”
It was able to list someone who isn’t a family member, isn’t on any shared bank account, doesn’t live at the same address, but is indeed someone I know. The other names listed were people I don’t know.
How is a computer able to know someone I’m acquainted with only socially and not through any online connection? That’s almost spooky. Perhaps because the geopositioning information on our phones has identified us as being in close proximity of each other?
I’ve had similar authentication questions when setting up accounts, where the system will ask “Which of the following addresses have you ever lived at” and an address from many years ago will be listed.
It’s as if the system is instantaneously being granted access to my credit report without my consent.
On one occasion, about 10 years ago, when getting auto insurance, I was asked, “Will ______ be driving the car also?” The insurance agent was reading from a computer screen, and somehow the database was aware of everyone who had ever lived at the address where I was. The insurance agent was going to calculate my auto insurance based on other people the computer knew might drive my car. I had to convince the agent that the person in question maintained the same local address, but lived in another state and wouldn’t be driving the car.
It seems like computers are becoming more and more powerful as databases are connected globally. Let’s hope their programming doesn’t allow them to take control away from the humans.