A Happy Peach

Things that make my heart smile…

Why I am scared…

14 Comments

I love technology, there are so many neat gizmos out there for me to play with. I shop online, watch videos online, purchase music downloads, and investigate subjects online. In the past ten years the products available to me online have increased exponentially, that makes me happy. Or at least it made me happy, now it’s got me quite worried. The other night I was sitting there watching a video on Hulu (U.S. video streaming service) and the commercials came on. The commercials have gotten longer and more frequent, but that is the price we pay for content. I sat through a 30 second ad for a car and then a second one came on. It said:

Danielle,

Of the people who enjoyed the program you’re watching 60% also enjoyed Blah Blah Blah..Would you like to see it, just click on it.

I’m not sure why but it was creepy. It sort of reminded me of that move Space Odyssey  2001 with that computer HAL 9000. And while this is a far cry from artificial intelligence, I can’t help but get the willies when I think there is a program out there trying to guess what I like. In fact I keep hearing that creepy Hal voice saying, “what are you doing Danielle, why don’t you just click on this link I provided for you, I really think you will like this show.” Guess what I clicked on it, and you know what I didn’t like the show. Hulu service aside from being weird and creepy, you were wrong.

I then began to think about all the other services that try to make that guess. When I open my Amazon home page, it lists new products that may work in conjunction with the other products I have bought as well as products that I may want instead of the products I was browsing. I get e-mails from places like Saks Fifth Avenue providing me with a list of products that I may be interested in, this list is based on the products that I bought and the other people who bought it also and what they like. Honestly they’re all terrible, and I thought just because someone else bought it doesn’t mean I would. Itunes has a little section on their Store Home page called “Recommendations for you”. They base it on your library; I haven’t found one album that I would want to buy (I mean Barry Manilow, why on earth would I be buying Barry Manilow). But it’s a little off putting that they use access to your library to decide what you may like, I could understand if that is a feature I wanted to see, but you can’t turn it off.

It’s all about up-selling, you want this so why don’t you buy this. I don’t necessarily blame them, but all of them have been wrong. I do feel like it can be an invasion of privacy, maybe I don’t want companies to maintain records of my lunacy. In the old days if you had a store that you frequented you may want to have a sales person take care of you as a regular. They would pull the stuff that you may like and contact you with sales information. In fact they still do that, and it’s a better service. It’s a person that you communicated your desires to, and who understood you. There isn’t a computer that can get why I like the color robin’s egg blue, but not electric blue because it’s too bright. And maybe there are some songs from the 70s that I like, but not all of them.

The only one that came close was Netflix, and I think it’s because I filled out a survey and they have me rating movies. I volunteered information so I could be better served. The only problem with Netflix is that their content isn’t as great as it used to be.  Oh well, nothing is perfect I guess.

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14 thoughts on “Why I am scared…

  1. I get this on Youtube. Things that I have looked for on the internet start appearing on Youtube adverts on the videos I am viewing.

    You’re right, its incredibly freaky. You’re right again on the privacy invasion issue. And its incredibly annoying. If I want to find something I will find it in my own time.

    • What I wonder is why they think this sort of marketing would work. It’s only negative. And completely creepy.

      • Yeah it’s creepy before it’s effective. And the creep factor acts as a barrier between me and the product. I can see the logic behind it but I’m not a fan at all.

      • I think I understand it in theory, it’s supposed to be a marketing opportunity, but it’s deployment is terrible. It alienates the customer.

  2. I think I read somewhere about these supposedly very complex algorithm to “calculate” what you may like based on what you are watching or previously watched. Apprently these algorithms are worth millions!

    • Really? Because the formula is wrong. All software is based on algorhythmic equations, but the base output of these formulas are generating erroneous information. The only result is my irritation. Oh well.

  3. It is freaky, sometimes useful but mostly just scares me that one day we’ll have to do everything on computers and it will be our only source of interaction!

    • I know, that thought is frightening to me too. I like actually meeting people. I am trying to think that it keeps me connected with friends from afar and also creates the opportunities to meet new people. But I think I it makes us lazy too. Then the computers will rise, remember the Matrix. I don’t want to become fuel for the Matrix. I think I may have been watching too much anime.

  4. I get this too! On Youtube, though. At first it REALLY freaked me out, I was like, okay, HOW did YOU know that I liked this?But then in a while we have to get used this advancement, right?

    • I wonder, maybe yes maybe no. I think only if it’s effective. If they find us purchasing because of it yes. But if it yields no reslults and it’s cost, both financially and customer alienation, are to high then odds are no.

    • I think I have a handle on the Youtube thing. Google bought Youtube so I figure that whatever you search for via google could be crossed referenced with Youtube and abra-kadabra, adverts based on google searches.

      Atleast I think that is whats happening. Because I searched for publishing on google and clicked on a website called Dorrance Publishing. Went on Youtube and bam, first advert is for Dorrance Publishing.

      • Wow, that is sneaky of Google. I can understand it, but it must have cost them so much to have their search engines connect Youtube, probably the cookies are some how accessed when you go into Youtube. You know I haven’t seen that on Youtube here. For a while they kept trying to send my to Denver, and I never looked up Denver.

        I wonder if it’s different according to country. But I have noticed on websites sometimes I’ll see an add for an item I searched for on one of those sidebar ads. That was disconcerting.

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