Feats of Clay

We all have three lives, a friend once told me. Our public life, our private life, and our secret life. How many times is some Citizen of the Year revealed to be a sadistic fantasist, with us tut-tutting “You just never can tell?”

This may have been true for thousands of years. But not any more.

Social media now lets us move from public to secret, bypassing private all together, as people’s deepest secrets (often now caught on video) are shared with the universe at the push of a “Send” button.

It will get worse next year. Today’s early versions of emotional AI will be like those clunky voice-recognition robots from centuries past, i.e.  in 2019, replaced in two years by glib, articulate voices you truly can’t tell from human ones. In other words, it may not be long before our deepest, darkest secrets will die in the shallows of light.

I was reminded of this when the stories of Bill Gates’ private and secret lives started to roll out over the past two weeks, following the mutual announcement of his divorce from Melinda Gates, his wife of 27 years.

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