"Facebook will market you your future before you’ve even gotten there, they’ll use predictive algorithms to figure out what’s your likely future and then try to make that even more likely. They’ll get better at programming you – they’ll reduce your spontaneity. And they can use your face and name to advertise through you, that’s what you’ve agreed to."
The order in which you are presented with items in your feed, which likes by which friends you see, your previous actions (most of which you cannot likely recall, but all of which facebook has a perfect memory), and many other details are not only used to advertise to you - they're used to build you into the type of person that will be more susceptible to advertising in the future.
Molding and shaping opinion and personality is nothing new, but it has never been this precise, this interactive, and this pervasive. The stimulus, response, and reward loop has never been tighter. Those who use these services are being trained to exhibit particular valuable traits and behaviors, and the level of control over these manipulations will only improve as data is collected and algorithms are refined.
If you've been using a service like Facebook for several years, they know who you have been at each point in time. Imagine you've traversed states A, B, and C and are predicted to be moving toward D. If state F or Z is more valuable (and can be arrived at from state D), then perhaps through several months of training you can be led to it instead. If you're not continually aware of each small nudge in a particular direction, then your mind is absorbing and adjusting to these changes without you knowing about it.
I'd love to read more about this, and am sort of morbidly fascinated by the methods by which these mechanisms operate, and just how powerful these types of control can get.
Imagine you've traversed states A, B, and C and are predicted to be moving toward D. If state F or Z is more valuable (and can be arrived at from state D), then perhaps through several months of training you can be led to it instead.
Nothing like this exists beyond very general models. There are some mood-state models, but they are short term (people argue if hourly data is too sparse for them to be useful).
The general models are roughly what you'd expect: if you are 18-22 you are likely to be a student, 55+ considering retirement. I've never seen any research on pushing people along paths, beyond things like education ads trying to get people to take courses, job ads trying to get people to change jobs and dating ads trying to get people to change partners.
Whilst general models maybe possible, my suspicion is that there are too many confounding factors for them to be very useful.
For eg: I know for a fact that FB is betting very heavily on travel advertising. FB wants to be the go to place for travel companies to advertise their products , so FB has an incentive to make people travel more.
They could do this prominently highlighting when people travel to a certain tourist spot etc...
I have another fake FB account, and gave them a fake picture--Eddie Haskel's head shot. I only use at as a convent way to enter certain websites. Once FB is gone--it's going to be deactivated.
I have a feeling I'm older than most of you. Giving up my picture, and personal information is very hard.
I used to think it was because I was sensitive over my appearance. I look like Shrek. Big Irish head.
I don't think that's the reason. I'm just a private person, and honestly don't like being photographed? And even more important, I don't like being pigeonholed by FB, or any marketing website.
I hope people in the future refuse to give up their image, and personal likes/dislikes. Or, demand complete control over all data they give up.
On the other side, I've spent the better part of the last decade abroad and realized last year that I don't have much "evidence" of my life, not in photos, not on FB (since I mostly just post articles). Not only do I share your aversion to having your picture taken, I never liked looking like a tourist when traveling (even the few sets of photos I took, most got lost over the years).
I've always thought I was above the whole "being manipulated by cultural trends" thing but isn't wanting evidence part of the whole Me culture?
Edit: I should also like to add that Rushkoff, after watching his talk, seems to have been influenced by Baudrillard's post-modern ideas. Here's a quick run-down
Alternatively, people posting photos on Facebook are watching other people's lives and posting the evidence of it. That's sad.
Hence the rise of the egotistical selfie.
Then, magically, when I was reading a blog which had Google Ads in it, I saw an Ad on the right which showed "Hand-pump based rechargeable batteries" and I was like "That's so cool! I want to buy it", then realized how Google's algorithm was influencing me to buy things that I didn't even know existed.
Somehow Google was able to make out that I'm interested in things that are hand-powered. I'd like to think it was random, but I know that's not the case.
My first reaction though was abhorrence, and a refusal to ever deal with the company using that ad- retargeting. The practice feels like something a really scummy sly used car salesman would use.
I don't think you realize how many companies you've decided to not do business with.
>The practice feels like something a really scummy sly used car salesman would use.
How different is it from walking into Home Depot and talking with a salesperson about paints to touch up the home you're about to put on the market. Then, upon return a month later, that same salesperson recognizes you, inquires as to your new home and mentions a deal they're running on Sherwin Williams paint?
It's also a social interaction. If the sales person did that of their own volition, then I'd react positively.
However, I'd be less responsive if the information had been retrieved via, say, facial recognition in some way.
The difference is that one case is someone (or a business) wanting to help and improve my life -- and, yes, to sell me something. The other is someone wanting to ell me something.
I think you're being overly generous in the case of the former. The person's livelihood depends on selling you something. She or he is just wrapping it in a social patina that will prevent your "I'm being sold something" warning lights from going off.
Besides, I quite happy (if I have to see ads at all) to not be shown tampons and pokemon cards. I'd much rather see things I might be interested in.