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Kinect: You Are the Controlled 156

Posted by timothy
from the read-'em-but-avoid-weeping dept.
theodp writes "GeekWire reports on a newly-surfaced Microsoft patent application for 'Targeting Advertisements Based on Emotion', which describes how information gleaned from Kinects, webcams, online games, IMs, email, searches, webpage content, and browsers could be used to build an 'Emotional State Database' of individuals' emotions over time for advertisers to tap into. From the patent application: 'Weight-loss product advertisers may not want their advertisement to appear to users that are very happy. Because, a person that is really happy, is less likely to purchase a self-investment product that leverages on his or her shortcomings. But a really happy person may purchase electronic products or vacation packages. No club or party advertisers want to appear when the user is sad or crying. When the user is emotionally sad, advertisements about club parties would not be appropriate and may seem annoying or negative to the user. Online help or technical support advertisers want their advertisements to appear when the user is demonstrating a confused or frustrated emotional state.'"
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Kinect: You Are the Controlled

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  • by sgt_doom (655561) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @03:37PM (#40276961)
    Futura Fantasia

    Class 201: The Dark Ages

    Today we examine the early 21st century nation state once referred to as “America” but now classified as the Dark Age. The political and financial manipulation practiced on the masses then was through a deftly controlled network of so-called think tanks, foundations, research centers and pre-positioned academics.

    An excellent example would be a pseudo-educational complex, MIT, later bombed and razed during the Revolution of 2023 (see Mbotu and Heineman, Zeno ScholarGrid, circa 2045), where academics referred to as “economists” would spread propaganda and misinformation while pretending to represent the interests of the people.

    One academic poseur, whose position was financed by the military-intel firm, Mitre, would mislead and confuse on labor economics. Another academic poseur, whose position was financed through a series of phantom foundations by the oligarch, the family known as the Rockefellers, would mix truth and fiction, confusing and bewildering the masses while claiming that his backers, the Rockefellers, had given away their fortune through philanthropy.

    These were dark times, indeed!

    The same political henchmen and women would continue to re-surface in presidential administration through presidential administration, from the Carter administration through Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush (the son of the previously mentioned Bush – evidently some type of quasi-dynastic rule?), Obama and Mueller; difficult to believe so many were so easily duped, but literacy was at an all-time low during the Dark Age.

    The ruling oligarchs of that period had succeeded in hiding their ownership and wealth, and the populace strangely enough appeared to remain incurious as to who exerted control over their daily lives.

    Many routinely believed the political lackeys and servants of the oligarchs were actually in control – difficult as that may be to accept today – that was the reality in that era. (See Rule by the Hegemon, Chao and Zuma, circa 2051).

    “Class, please review Chapter 17: Mind Control Through Cloud Computing and Social Networking for next week.”

    [Soft tones signal end of session]

    Note: Futura Fantasia was the name Ray Bradbury gave his high school newspaper which he published frequently during his later school years.

    Ray Bradbury
    1920-2012
    Rest In Peace, Oh Mighty and Eloquent Wordsmith.

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @03:49PM (#40277045)
    Here's a new idea: Turn that Kinect or other camera around and point it at a video feed that comes from somewhere else. Say I want to watch cerain kinds of ads. I substitute the video feed from the Kinect (or Sanyo or whatever device) with a video stream designed to elicit the kinds of ads I want to see. It never actually sees me. It sees old Leave it to Beaver reruns, or Scooby Doo episodes. Whatever you want. Or turn it around and show it the program that it's sending you right now. That would be an interesting experiment in itself. Would it settle into one of a number of stable advertising states?
  • by gilgongo (57446) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @04:10PM (#40277205) Homepage Journal

    I'd be more willing to pay attention to this news if the history of "targeted advertising" hadn't been so wonderfully, idiotically, shit. Perhaps a Microsoft offering like this might just achieve something worthwhile, but I'm not holding my breath. Let's see how the much-vaunted personalisation algos are these days:

    I splash my personal browsing habits and general information all over the web (I don't even log out of FB most of the time) yet I have never been aware of anything other than random, pathetically irrelevant ads. As of writing, I have my Gmail open in another tab and I'm looking at an automated mail from Spotify that says "Anna just joined Spotify" - Anna is a friend of mine. Now, what do you think the mighty Google might be selecting, given that it knows lots and lots about me, and reads all my emails numbering tens of thousands? Tadaa!! "How To Declare Bankruptcy" and "Easy Web Site Builder". WFT? I'm not even self-employed, have never been in fact, and tons of my emails deal with subjects such as Apache and MySQL (I maintain a small little server for my friends). Why the hell would I want an easy web site built?

    Maybe that was atypical. Let's try another. Here's one from a recruitment agent asking me about a job in user experience (I'm a designer). Google decides to show me these: "Gap Year Placements" and "Doctors in hot demand" - Huh?? I'm not a student!! I'm not a doctor!! Does Google know NOTHING about me after over five years of intensive Gmail use??

    I dunno, maybe if I was a one-eyed teenage porno extra or something, I might be seeing relevant stuff in my datasphere, but right now it's just not happening.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @05:38PM (#40277809)

    I'd be more willing to pay attention to this news if the history of "targeted advertising" hadn't been so wonderfully, idiotically, shit.

    While I would totally like to believe that targetted marketing is useless, even harmful because of the waste of talent spent on it and the side-effects of creating massive tracking databases, I think your criticism is naive.

    Most people confuse targetted marketing with showing them "ads for stuff they want." That's not true. Targetted marketing is no different from any other form of marketing - the goal is to increase sales, full stop. The problem with self-reporting the ineffectiveness of advertising is that everybody universally under-reports the effect advertising has on them.

    Everybody likes to believe they are immune to the effects of advertising when they just don't understand how it works. It isn't necessarily about click-throughs, it is about planting the seed of an idea in your head. For example, you may not want an easy web site builder, but your knowledge of web servers may be enough for friends to come to you looking for advice on such things. And even if your instinct is to do some research before giving out any recommendations, that seed in your head could be enough to make you start your research by searching google for a phrase that was in the ad and will now bring up that product as the first hit. You can't research everything on the market, so chances are you are going to end up recommending one of the products on the first page of hits in google so that ad has done its job.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @07:56PM (#40278509)

    So what's the difference between targeted and non-targeted advertising in that case?

    I'd say it is a continuum where "targetting" can mean any attempt to get a better response than a purely scatter-shot approach. For example advertising paycheck-cashing services on the back of seats in public busses - not everyone riding the bus is going to be a potential customer, but it's probably a lot higher percentage than the population in general.

    What I would like to believe is that "targetting" is subject to the law of diminishing returns. That after a point, the effort required to narrow down the group that receives an advertisment starts to exceed the improvement in response rate. I hope that point turns out to be somewhere less than the effort of Big Data cyberstalking the crap out of everyone facebook/google-style. However, I worry that Big Data will figure out that targetted advertising is not the only market for their databases and that the other revenue streams (like background checks for employers, landlords, the FBI, insurance companies, poltical incumbents, private investigators, etc) will be enough to make it profitable in the long run.

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