Advertising that Knows How YOU Feel

Computer keys

Courtesy of StockVault

According to Slate-Future Tense, our technical devices and appliances could adjust themselves based on how we feel.  In the past we received personalized information, to our Facebook pages and our Google searches,  based on our key strokes and our clicks.  Until recently, the cues involved in the personalization process could Only record keystrokes and clicks.

Slate and Future Tense delve into the technological advances that are in the works right now that can make it possible for technology to read a person’s emotions.  Unlike the information used now (based on cues), new “sensor” technology is capable of reading our emotions.   Thus, our browsing history could be used to predict what we might want to read next or our Google queries could be used to prioritize certain search results based on how we feel at that moment.

The sensors responsible for personalization are no longer just textual—they can capture many other dimensions to our activities. They don’t just store the URLs and the search queries—they can also deal with data that is nonlinguistic, from neurophysiological indicators (are we burning too few calories?) to emotional ones (are we feeling anxious or aroused)?

A couple of examples of this are:

1. The senor car that slows  down when it senses you’re distracted.

2. The Ultimate Desk that has Wi Fi, Bluetooth, API’s and a touchscreen. This desk is equipped with thermal sensors and a Linux-power operating system, the desk knows when you are using it and constantly learns about your habits.  It can even suggest times to stand and sit.

What companies are already in on Emotion Advertising?  Microsoft got a patent for “Targeting Advertisements Based on Emotion”. Samsung has plenty of similar patents for technologies that range from facilitating the sharing of emotions over social networks to producing fragrances on mobile phones.

There is a down side to this and that is, will this infringe upon our privacy?

The article mentions techniques like “proprietary emotional targeting” that present dilemmas that go beyond just privacy concerns; in some sense, they substantiate the recurrent fears about “hidden persuaders” that have plagued advertising for decades.

These concerns are not a threatening as they exit now on Facebook or Google since those can ultimately be blocked.  However, the new types of highly customized, emotions-based advertising that would become possible in a world where any “smart” touchable surface can guess how we feel and show us a relevant ad could change that playing field

Do you think we should reconsider how advertising should be able to work?


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