Friday, October 22, 2010

NEC plus ultra?

Today's Globe & Mail brings us a story about billboard surveillance. Those pesky visual pollutants aren't just telling you to knock back a Dr. Pepper or wear GAP fashions anymore. They're watching you.

In fact they know you, these ads. And soon they'll want to know you better.

Created by the electronics company NEC, they use sophisticated facial-recognition technology to tailor the ad message based on the appearance of the passerby and the surrounding environment.

How long before the One Big Database™ will combine government and private knowledge of your every belief and desire, not to mention secrets you would prefer not be disclosed? "Buy another Toyota now, Jack Smith, or we'll tell your wife." And the best thing, from our masters' point of view, is that we can't answer back. We see (but soon these things will be multimedia, trust me), and if we know what's good for us, we'll obey. "Uncle Sam Wants You! Yeah, you, Bob Nelles!"

Tinfoil helmet stuff? Don't be so sure. Domino's Pizza is ahead of Uncle Sam in the line, but it wants you too:

To think that just last evening I was idly musing about birth-implanted GPS chips so that none of us would ever, ever get lost. O brave new world--talk to me.

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