Friday, July 29, 2011

The Things We Could Do!

Recently I wrote a post on this very blog about how I was paranoid about how good our culture is at marketing. Specifically I thought that this internet ad for a dating sight had figured out my taste in women based on my taste in music. Well … never mind.

I just got an email from Amazon about how much I want to buy some patio furniture.

Needless to say, I have no interest in buying patio furniture.

This raises an interesting thought though, we all act like marketing is bad, right? There is something very American about, “Hey leave me alone and don’t know anything about me! This is my log cabin/windowless van and it is no business of yours what goes on in here!”

And that’s all fine and good. I like privacy too. But as far as general advertising and marketing goes, don’t we want that industry to be better at what it does? I mean, if they could really zero us in using demographic databases and complex algorithms and super-intelligent, semi-autonomous computers and, like, a couple of Ouija boards, would that be such a bad thing? Would it mean that I would only get emails from Amazon about stuff that I want to buy? Or would like to buy?

Imagine one day in the near future when the cable companies finally partner with some huge marketing firm and come up with a way to select commercials for you based on your viewing habits and what the Ouija board/super computer tells them about your spending habits. Imagine! You would never have to see another commercial for a monster truck rally ever again! But I would see them all the time (because I love me a tractor pull! And that dinosaur robot that eats cars!). The Ouija computer would know if you watch a lot of outdoor shows and when it is time for commercials it decides to show you Sports Authority commercials!

Something about that is scary, but I think this is like being in a very tall building, it seems scary, but isn’t actually. I mean, what’s the harm in that?

But I do realize some people are more scared of this stuff than I am and some people are WAY more protective of their privacy/windowless van interiors than I am. For instance, I think that cars should have computers in them that report you if you are speeding dangerously. The little computer would just be all like, “120 miles an hour seems a little fast for this school zone” and then it narcs you out via some sort of On-star style satellite connection. Everybody I have ever shared this idea with just bristles at the very thought of it, but I have no problem with it.

Hey! Maybe in some dystopian future-America the Ouija computer will also have access to the computer in your car and it will know if you drive like an asshole and then every commercial you see on TV will be for a new BMW!


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