This article from Olivia Solon writing for The Guardian was one of a number that flagged up the key announcements, last week, from Google's annual I/O developer conference.
What was notable from the information giant this time around - according to reports from those attending (virtually or in person) - was its increasing enthusiasm for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Google's vision for harnessing this advancing technology.
Thus, we can shortly expect Google Home to proactively warn you to leave the house earlier when the traffic looks bad, or a Google Assistant that will sort out a task following a simple "conversation" with you, and the advent of "Smart Replies" in Gmail that will suggest quick responses to your emails when you need them.
And as I read that Google has most definitely moved its focus from a "mobile-first" approach to an "AI-first" one, that will look to put AI at the heart of all of its products, I have to admit to feeling a frisson of uneasiness.
Don't get me wrong, I don't fear the imminent threat of an "I Robot" style takeover of humans by intelligent machine; and yet, there is something disquieting in the pace of progress being made in AI and its increasing ability to supplant those areas that seemed to be previously only the domain of man.
The excellent TED Radio Hour programme Do we need humans? helped me ponder my unease further, with contributions from a number of TED speakers, who discuss both the "promises and perils of our relationship with technology."
There was Sherry Turkle of MIT who spoke of her worry that, whilst technology is apparently making us more connected than ever, we are actually becoming more alone as the opportunities for human engagement, thanks to digital progress, reduce. Countering that argument is Cynthia Breazeal, also of MIT, who believes that our lives will become enhanced through learning and play with robots. Then there's the thoughts of Andrew McAfee who discusses the job roles that are increasing within the sights of AI, even those - such as writing, journalism or customer service - that were previously thought to be the sole province of mankind.
This programme and the more recent TED Radio Hour entitled The Digital Industrial Revolution certainly bring to the fore for me some of the key challenges around the meeting of machine and man, and where the boundaries should lie.
And I feel torn: between really appreciating the developments that technology is enabling us to make (from freedom and abundance of information to the contribution of AI in the understanding of Alzheimer's disease, which would be eons behind without it according to Demis Hassabis) and the unsettled feeling that it is also leading us to become more remote from each other as we increasingly use apps and devices to control aspects of our everyday environments specifically to our own individual tastes and needs.
There were whoops and cheers from developers as Google announced the incremental ways it's strengthening its grip on many aspects of people’s lives at its annual developer conference, Google I/O. There were no jaw-dropping major product launches...Instead there was a showcase of features, powered by artificial intelligence, designed to make people more connected – and more reliant on Google. “We are focused on our core mission of organising the world’s information for everyone and approach this by applying deep computer science and technical insights to solve problems at scale,” said CEO Sundar Pichai. By combining the personal data harvested from its users with industry-leading artificial intelligence, Google is squeezing itself into our everyday interactions it hasn’t been before, filling in the gaps and oozing into new territory like a sticky glue that is becoming harder and harder to escape.