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Amy and Google Now: How Personal Digital Assistants Make Us Better

In October 1943, before the rebuilding of the Commons Chamber after its destruction during the Blitz, Winston Churchill addressed the lower house of Parliament: “We shape our buildings” he said, “and afterwards our buildings shape us.”

What he meant is that the way we construct our buildings impacts how we live our lives. How we build our homes, offices, and cities influences human endeavor. For example, in most homes, the dining room is next to the kitchen. There’s usually a bathroom next to the bedroom. If you extend this concept more broadly, residential areas are separate from commercial areas which are separate from industrial areas. Anyone who has played SimCity knows this fact inherently. My point is that the way our homes are structured as well as our cities and towns, influences how we go about living: where and how we eat; where and how we buy things; where and how we spend our time. Technology works the same way. We build technologies and they build us. We build tools, and those tools determine, construct, and guide our lives.

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