Mama Cass Sunstein & the Cognitive Algorithm Formerly Known as Nagging Bastardry

Years ago when my daughter was about six I noticed she had her fierce eyes on ferociously staring into space as her two little dimples took turns bouncing up and down on either side of her face as her thinly squeezed lips pulsated in and out against each other as if she was simultaneously chewing on something very tiny and having an imaginary argument with someone.

I could all but hear invisible steam hissing out her ears and she was obviously furious about something.

"What's the matter sugar plum?" I asked.

For a moment she seemed speechless with fury as if she'd've much preferred continuing her incandescent inner rant rather than run the risk of feeling less aggrieved by explaining what was up before hissing "It's me mum..."

"What about y'mum?"

"She said 'What d'you wan'o do? Go to Nanny's or stay with Gran'ma?' and I laughed and said 'Much as I love Gran'ma I really do I'd rather be with me Dad and go to Nanny's' and she snapped 'Well y'goin' to Gran'ma's anyway'! Why do people do that? Everyone does it. Even teachers. They pretend like they're givin' y'u a choice but they're not given you any choice a' all."

That statement of my daughter's about pretending to give people a choice when they're being given no choice at all I suggest's the essence of the new wonder of the age Nudging*.

They dress it up with terms like cognitive this and algorithm that but it boils down to how can we convince the masses we're giving them more choice more democracy indeed when in fact they're in the process of completely taking all our choices all our democracy away?

And the cosmic joke of it all's it's not even new!

Anyone's who's ever been raised by a parent especially a mother knows that chilling moment when you suddenly realise that friendly approach of a few minutes ago when the parent concerned seemed to idly ask your opinion on a topic vaguely touching on your future was merely a ruse to at first cajole then attempt to persuade then finally bludgeon you into submission.

So now we've not only got to be paranoid about our governments hacking into each others' emails files and phonecalls etc as well as the emails files and phonecalls of us their own citizens but we've also got to to be paranoid whether all those algorithms they're so kindly in the process of providing us with to ensure we don't make any wrong choices've been hacked into in such a way we make wrong choices even they haven't allowed for.

*by a curious coincidence nudger's English slang for penis so decide for yourself what Nudging might be slang for.