It seemed like a big joke at first – a flood of emails offering cures for baldness or extensions to certain parts of my anatomy. I laughed them off, although they did leave the nagging feeling someone out there knew at least one thing about me only my wife should know. Next came emails saying, “I know what you’ve been looking at online and unless you send me US$1,000 by midnight I’ll distribute your internet history.” I laughed them off, too (after that nagging feeling persuaded me to max out my credit card, just in case). Then I learned his name. He is called “Algorithm”, but you can call him Al. And these days, he is relentless. Whenever I go on Facebook or any website, he doesn’t just know things about me only my wife should know, Al knows things even I don’t know yet. This is the shirt you should buy, Al says. This is the hotel you should book. This is the meal you should eat right now. These are the pills you need to stay alive. This is the course you should sign up for to learn how to spell and write in proper sentences. And he is invariably right. My wife is convinced Al doesn’t just watch us but eavesdrops, too. If she raises a subject with a friend in casual conversation (affordable divorce lawyers, or ways to make a murder seem like a gardening accident, for instance), Al obligingly pops up offering precisely those things the moment she logs on. She finds it intrusive (as well as potentially evidentially compromising in the event of any future criminal proceedings). She rails against Al and has installed all kinds of expensive software on her computer to try to shut him out. But I embrace Al. I never liked shopping or making decisions about where to stay, what to eat, or even what to do for the next hour or so. China’s food factory AI robots boost profits, paving way for mass use Now I have someone who decides for me. While my wife exists in a state of perpetual paranoia, I yearn for the next technological leap forward, when Al starts telling me what to think and write. So relax. Learn to love Al. He could blackmail you and ruin your life at any time, but for now he just wants you to buy random stuff and be happy. And let’s face it, he knows you better and pays you more attention than your spouse ever will.