Billboards are watching you
I recently stumbled upon the above picture that shows a bus-stop poster with a creative use of technology. As I’m an admirer of creativity, I first thought that it was quite cool, then I had a second thought: “Isn’t this a little creepy? Videocam knowing if we are looking or not?”.
A little while after, I came across this article on Newscientist.com that made me really freak out, check a little excerpt for yourself:
For example, a system developed by Singapore’s research agency lets advertising screens detect the genders of passers-by: it will soon be able to tell how old they are, too. IBM has worked on systems that can scan a crowd and estimate numbers, demographics, and where people are looking.
Computer vision is sophisticated and cheap enough to make it possible to spot the logos on your drinks cup or shopping bags, and serve up ads in response – whether to reinforce your choice or promote a competitor.
And now that facial recognition has become a consumer technology it wouldn’t be difficult to install a series of ad screens that tracks individuals as they move through a subway system or mall, greeting them at each turn with a particular message or character.
What are your views on this topic? Do you see these technologies as an opportunity for advertisers or as an unacceptable intrusion in your privacy?