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New Ads That Watch You

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the watching-the-watchers dept.

Media 238

Pandanapper writes to tell us Yahoo is reporting that if you find yourself watching an ad on a video screen in a public venue, the ad may be watching you as well. "Small cameras can now be embedded in the screen or hidden around it, tracking who looks at the screen and for how long. The makers of the tracking systems say the software can determine the viewer's gender, approximate age range and, in some cases, ethnicity -- and can change the ads accordingly. That could mean razor ads for men, cosmetics ads for women and video-game ads for teens."

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Not just in Soviet Russia (4, Funny)

EvilVassago (1410063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672441)

In Soviet America Ads Watch You

Re:Not just in Soviet Russia (3, Funny)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672469)

Didn't you RTFA?!

No... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672511)

There was no A to R. Just the OP.

Re:No... (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672567)

Here's the actual article, taken from the Firehose entry:

http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20090130/ap_on_hi_te/tec_nosy_ads [yahoo.com]

I wish the editors didn't get so tricky with the links all the time. If they'd just plop what was posted on the front page, we wouldn't have this problem.

*wistfully remembers the days before the awfulness that is Firehose*

Re:Not just in Soviet Russia (-1, Redundant)

tenco (773732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672595)

In Soviet Russia ads are watched by YOU!

Re:Not just in Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672941)

In Soviet Russia ads are watched by YOU!

How original.

Re:Not just in Soviet Russia (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672943)

I came here for this, leaving disapointed.

Re:Not just in Soviet Russia (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26673205)

I came.

Re:Not just in Soviet Russia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26673333)

I came.

Yeah, we know. Your wife said it was pretty disappointing.

Soviet America aka The North American Union (4, Interesting)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673631)

In the coming North American Union aka as "Soviet America" this may well
become a reality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii64ErBotvA [youtube.com] ,skip to 2:00 (1984)

"Smith? 6079 Smith W? Yes you! Bend over! You're not trying, watch me!
There Brother! That's what I want! Anyone under 45 is perfectly capable
of touching his toes, I'm 39 and I've had four children. We don't all
have the privilege of fighting in the front line, remember our boys on
the Malabar front, think of what they have to put up with."

In Britain people are already getting used to having orders barked at
them from surveillance camera operators. The 1984-style Televisor is only
one step further from that. Oh and the technology is already there too,
Apple just filed a patent that puts a camera _behind_ the screen on their
notebooks. You don't see the camera and worse you can't just tape over it
either.

Salesmen (3, Insightful)

number17 (952777) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672445)

Now if they could only make one of these for my front door to recognize the vacuum salesmen.

I can haz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672465)

telescreen? You can turn it down, but never off.

Re:I can haz (2, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672637)

Never believe that they are "off", even if somebody tells you. Same thing with cell phones as well.

Re:I can haz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26673661)

I have an external FireWire iSight, and I love it: I can physically rotate the lens cap into place.

Now I just need to know how to get it to work with Ubuntu 8.04 on a PC...

Ha! I'll show them. (4, Funny)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672473)

I'm a teenaged bearded woman, those insensitive clods!

Re:Ha! I'll show them. (5, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672611)

That's nothing... I'm sitting here in front of my new Sony flatscreen with integrated AdCam, watching Dora with my toddler. We get a phone call: "Hello Sir, this is Nickelodeon. We can't quite make out the race of the little girl sitting next to you."

I patiently explain that my wife is black and so she's a mix of black and white, and what happens? Nothing but Oreo ads. Every. Single. Time.

I knew I shouldn't have paid extra for the AdCam.

Re:Ha! I'll show them. (2, Funny)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672945)

They'll be built into TV sets and you cannot switch them off.

They can determine race by the hue of the skin.

AdMic will be included to detect accent and foreign languages.

Big Brother just got into advertising.

In Soviet Russia, you watch the TV.

In the USA, the TV watches you!

What a country, I don't love it!

Re:Ha! I'll show them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26673091)

They'll be built into TV sets and you cannot switch them off.

Duct tape, not just for the kinky anymore!

Re:Ha! I'll show them. (4, Funny)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673149)

so fuck em up, wear a smurf costume or paint yourself and watch TV naked.

oh hell, just do it for fun.

Re:Ha! I'll show them. (3, Funny)

jaavaaguru (261551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673561)

Or go do something more productive than watching TV.
Oops... what am I doing here?

Re:Ha! I'll show them. (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673183)

You can't switch a camera off? Since when? I have wire snips, and if nothing else, I have duct tape. Hell, duct tape with a picture on it [crazyabouttv.com] would work.

I'd keep that quiet, if I were you . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672623)

I'm a teenaged bearded woman, those insensitive clods!

Everyone might want one.

Re:Ha! I'll show them. (1)

La Gris (531858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672655)

Do you say, Hey babe, Take a walk on the wild side?

Re:Ha! I'll show them. (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673385)

I've missed you on the polls, Cowboy Neal.

Re:Ha! I'll show them. (4, Funny)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673445)

I'm a man, and I only pay attention to those ads targetted at women. Especially the shower gel, bikini and lingerie ones.

privacy-related issues (1)

bdqbit (1465479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672475)

I don't think companies could pull that so easily in most of Europe (for the moment, due to privacy legislation)...

In my country, you're even doing illegal stuff if you're taking a picture of someone out on the street without their permission...

Re:privacy-related issues (1)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672867)

I don't think it's as much about taking pictures as it is detecting what demographic the sign should be catering to.

Even in Europe, if the sign is only recording the detected demographic and not storing the picture itself I honestly think it would be hard to make the case it's violating privacy because it doesn't know it's you specifically. The privacy issues arise with things like remote retinal scanning via camera which has been talked about in other Slashdot articles [citation needed - can't find specific article but I know I saw something about high-resolution security cameras taking retinal scans on /.] where identification is specific to a single person.

I actually think this is quite a clever way to use limited advertising space and give a person potentially the most pertinent information albeit in ad form. Additionally and fortunately for things like signs in malls or on subways where this would be implemented, you can just ignore them. I agree this could be mistreated in ways that would violate privacy laws and that should be checked over, but as a concept I think it actually could be both unintrusive and quite useful.

Re:privacy-related issues (-1, Flamebait)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673453)

Fuck off !


Fuck the USA ! Before you "invented" the tv there was no such thing as the "mass media". We didn't have to accept advertising as a permanent and accepted part of our daily lives. Fucking cowards the lot of you ! (apologies to those who aren't).

In case you haven't noticed, the USA is all about keeping the profit for yourself, be it politics or so called "charity". USA == me me me, and FTW. Libertarians are basically saying, let me decide which laws I want to abide by, otherwise fuck you ! (even if it fucks me later). The rest of you are just moving your lips in time to the music. Don't get me wrong. I have travelled widely in the US and like very many individuals, but politically you are a bunch of ignorant cunts.

I watched the so called debates between Obama and McCain, and McCains attitude was "have kids and we'll pay for it, while Obama was "mumble mumble, everything will be better"

Tossers.

I'll tell you this now - if you ever try to force the UK to do your bidding, I WILL be (classed as) a terrorist.

Don't you realise that everything you hold dear is being played out in Iraq, but you are calling them "Insurgents" ? OPEN YOUR FUCKING EYES !

Do you like being told what to do ? Would you like being told what to do by a FOREIGN ARMY ?

Never ask anybody to do what you can't do yourself.

Message ends.

p.s. Grow up !

Welcom Advertising Overlords (4, Insightful)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672477)

That could mean razor ads for men, cosmetics ads for women and video-game ads for teens.

...ads for tissues for people picking their noses
ads for itch powder for people scratching their crotches
and ads for weapons for people giving the sign the finger.

Re:Welcom Advertising Overlords (5, Funny)

meeotch (524339) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672871)

Does that mean that the screens will be showing porn whenever I'm in the room? Freaking SWEET!

Re:Welcom Advertising Overlords (4, Funny)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673171)

Does that mean that the screens will be showing porn whenever I'm in the room? Freaking SWEET!

Naw dude, that's not porn it's an ad for penile enlargement products.

with your face super-imposed from the camera!!

Re:Welcom Advertising Overlords (3, Funny)

EEBaum (520514) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672881)

Estimated time until someone pulls a Goatse in front of the cameras to see what happens: 4 days.

Re:Welcom Advertising Overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26673481)

And you forgot the obligatory ... ads for lube, keyboard/monitor cleaner for those masturbating in front of their screen

Re:Welcom Advertising Overlords (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673637)

...and ads for tissues for the you-know-who crowd...

Cool ... the possibilities (4, Funny)

EvilDrMike (1342519) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672479)

Diet adds for fat people
Cosmetic surgery adds for ugly people
Maybe even lawyer adds if you get run over while staring at the screen

-EDM

Re:Cool ... the possibilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672651)

Diet adds for fat people Cosmetic surgery adds for ugly people Maybe even lawyer adds if you get run over while staring at the screen

"Adds?" That sounds like quite the heinous group of unwanted Warcraft monsters!

Re:Cool ... the possibilities (4, Insightful)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672779)

Diet adds for fat people

I find your faith in advertisers disturbing.
If they see fat people, they will advertise junk food, not diets because impulse sales are so much easier and lucrative.

Re:Cool ... the possibilities (4, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673069)

Sir, you fail bizness. For a long-term revenue stream, you sell them both.

Re:Cool ... the possibilities (2, Insightful)

merreborn (853723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672929)

Diet adds for fat people

Having those pop up on every billboard you walk past could really trash someone's already-fragile body image...

Re:Cool ... the possibilities (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26673231)

Having those pop up on every billboard you walk past could really trash someone's already-fragile body image...

Oh man, ads that damage your self-image? We're doomed!

Re:Cool ... the possibilities (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673457)

Conclusion:

Display razor blades ads or rope ads when they walk by.

Re:Cool ... the possibilities (1)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673703)

Hopefully enough that they'll do something about it.

Re:Cool ... the possibilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26673001)

nothing but acne ads for me I'm sure...

Condom Ads..... (1)

bagboy (630125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672489)

for male flashers?

Re:Condom Ads..... (1, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672605)

Not condoms, Penis extension ads.

Re:Condom Ads..... (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673037)

Maybe if they include a zoom lens.

Re:Condom Ads..... (0, Redundant)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673535)

Come to think of it ads for tampons and breast enhancement are a better insult.

Re:Condom Ads..... (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673633)

Or breast reduction (for guys.)

So... (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672493)

My dear marketing chums, what ads will people with their middle fingers extended at the camera be forced to enjoy?

Extra credit goes to the first person who gets served an NRA or Soldier of Fortune ad, if you get my drift...

Re:So... (0, Redundant)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672673)

My dear marketing chums, what ads will people with their middle fingers extended at the camera be forced to enjoy?

Burberry [wikipedia.org]

Re:So... (1)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672781)

My dear marketing chums, what ads will people with their middle fingers extended at the camera be forced to enjoy?.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0 [youtube.com]

Fuck that (0)

speedingant (1121329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672495)

*Unplugs TV from teh internets and puts on tin foil hat* You'll never get me with your personlised ads you fuckers!!!!

Re:Fuck that (2, Funny)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672783)

Ads for radio wave-reducing tinfoil, orgone generators, tinfoil folding methods, security devices, and last but not least: a link to Stallman's personal page.

Re:Fuck that (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673023)

and last but not least: a link to Stallman's personal page.

Yeah. The only guy NOT selling something. Maybe he'll be a public service announcement. Richard's picture, and the caption underneath "This is your life. This is your life on x86 assembly. Any questions?" Or maybe as a pro-choice advertisement... *ducks*

Re:Fuck that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672819)

/me coldly checks the boxes for "insecure", "combative", "delusions of self-reliance", and "poor spelling"

Thank you, advertising target #1121329. Enjoy your enhanced billboards featuring alarm system, stress relief, gun, and dictionary advertisements. We will check back in a month to make sure you are watching them.

Re:Fuck that (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672851)

speedingant, have you considered Alcoa, makers of fine aluminum products since 1888?

Likely article the submitter was referring to (4, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672499)

from the AP
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gtt0GDVKp2kUEw39aEGal9yfYmjgD961JH500 [google.com]

When you watch these ads, the ads check you out
By DINESH RAMDE - 5 hours ago

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Watch an advertisement on a video screen in a mall, health club or grocery store and there's a slim -- but growing -- chance the ad is watching you too.

Small cameras can now be embedded in the screen or hidden around it, tracking who looks at the screen and for how long. The makers of the tracking systems say the software can determine the viewer's gender, approximate age range and, in some cases, ethnicity -- and can change the ads accordingly.

That could mean razor ads for men, cosmetics ads for women and video-game ads for teens.

And even if the ads don't shift based on which people are watching, the technology's ability to determine the viewers' demographics is golden for advertisers who want to know how effectively they're reaching their target audience.

While the technology remains in limited use for now, advertising industry analysts say it is finally beginning to live up to its promise. The manufacturers say their systems can accurately determine gender 85 to 90 percent of the time, while accuracy for the other measures continues to be refined.

The concept is reminiscent of the science-fiction movie "Minority Report," in which Tom Cruise's character enters a mall and finds that retinal scanners identify him and prompt personalized ads that greet him by name.

But this technology doesn't go nearly that far. It doesn't identify people individually -- it simply categorizes them by outward appearances.

So a video screen might show a motorcycle ad for a group of men, but switch to a minivan ad when women and children join them, said Vicki Rabenou, the chief measurement officer of Tampa, Fla.-based TruMedia Technologies Inc., one of the leaders in developing the technology.

"This is proactive merchandising," Rabenou said. "You're targeting people with smart ads."

Because the tracking industry is still in its infancy, there isn't yet consensus on how to refer to the technology. Some call it face reading, face counting, gaze tracking or, more generally, face-based audience measurement.

Whatever it's called, advertisers are finally ready to try it, said advertising consultant Jack Sullivan, a senior vice president of Starcom USA in Chicago. "I think you're going to see a lot of movement toward it by the end of this year in the top 10 markets," he said.

Because face tracking might feel reminiscent of Big Brother, manufacturers are racing to offer reassurances. When the systems capture an image of who's watching the screen, a computer instantly analyzes it. The systems' manufacturers insist, however, that nothing is ever stored and no identifying information is ever associated with the pictures. That makes the system less intrusive than a surveillance camera that records what it sees, the developers say.

The idea still worries Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil-liberties group in San Francisco. Tien said it's not enough to say some system is "not as bad as some other technology," and argues that cameras that study people contribute to an erosion of privacy.

In general, the tracking systems work like this: A sensor or camera in or near the screen identifies viewers' faces by picking up shapes, colors and the relative speed of movement. The concept is similar to the way consumer cameras now can automatically make sure faces are in focus.

When the ad system pinpoints a face, it compares shapes and patterns to faces that are already identified in a database as male or female. That lets the system predict the person's gender almost immediately.

"The most important features seem to be cheekbones, fullness of lips and the gap between the eyebrows," said Paolo Prandoni, chief scientific officer of Quividi, a French company that is another player in face-tracking technology. Others include Studio IMC Inc. in New York.

The companies say their systems have become adept at determining a viewer's gender, but age is trickier: The software can categorize age only in broad ranges -- teens, younger to middle-aged folks and seniors. There's moderate demand for ads based on ethnic information, but the companies acknowledge that determining ethnicity is more challenging than figuring out gender and age range.

Prandoni provided The Associated Press a limited version of Quividi's software, which uses an ordinary webcam to stream video to a computer. The trial version tracked gender only, using color-coded circles to distinguish male and female faces.

The sample size was too small to be statistically significant, but it was accurate about 80 to 90 percent of the time.

That might be as precise as the systems ever get, said Deborah Mitchell, a professor of consumer psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Even the human brain can't always determine gender, age or ethnicity.

Still, "even if it gets to 70 percent accuracy, that's still giving you a wealth of information," said Mitchell, who teaches in the Wisconsin School of Business.

That information is certainly valuable to Bill Ketcham, the chief marketing officer of Adspace Networks Inc. His New York company sells video advertising on 1,400 video screens at 105 malls around the nation.

Adspace is testing six TruMedia systems at malls in Winston-Salem, N.C., Pittsburgh and St. Louis. The kiosks display a daily list of top 10 sales at the mall, as well as paid advertising that comes largely from movie studios and TV networks.

A 15-second video ad that replays across Adspace's national network can cost as much as $765,000 per month. So advertisers expect rigorous information about who sees the spots -- information that face tracking can now provide, Ketcham said.

For now, at least, Adspace isn't changing the ads based on who's watching -- Ketcham said the kiosks' audiences are so large that it wouldn't be practical to personalize ads to individuals.

While advertisers like the face-tracking technology, another privacy advocate, Harley Geiger, questions whether it should be used on consumers without their knowledge. Geiger, staff counsel for the Center for Democracy & Technology in Washington, D.C., said advertisers should be telling consumers what details about them are being collected and for what purpose.

"With the technology proliferating, now or the short-term is the time to consider privacy protections," he said. "If you don't build it in at an early stage it becomes very difficult to build it into an already established system."

On the Net:
Quividi: http://quividi.com/ [quividi.com]
TruMedia Technologies: http://trumedia.co.il/ [trumedia.co.il]
Studio IMC: http://www.studioimc.com/ [studioimc.com]

Re:Likely article the submitter was referring to (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673419)

I wonder how well it handles pictures or masks.

In Soviet Russia..... (2, Funny)

cybvapor (1203306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672505)

.....ad watches you...

Wait a minute........

Scifi predicting real life... (1)

NigelTheFrog (1292406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672571)

Didn't I read about this in "The Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson? I'm sure there are other scifi examples. Welcome to the future...

Re:Scifi predicting real life... (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672667)

Didn't I read about this in "The Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson? I'm sure there are other scifi examples. Welcome to the future...

Our vending machine cameras show you were actually reading "Cosmopolitan" magazine.

By the way, taking that quiz must have given you a terrible thirst, why not have a coke?

Re:Scifi predicting real life... (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672741)

Minority Report.

Re:Scifi predicting real life... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673399)

1984

Re:Scifi predicting real life... (1)

KTheorem (999253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673579)

I thought the same thing, it reminded me of the personalized newspapers the Vickies got.

Ethnicity difficult? (1)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672593)

Odd... I'd have thought that ethnicity, at least in broad terms, would be a lot easier to determine than age range or gender.

in Russia (1)

namoom (926916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672621)

Ads watch you...

Go ahead... nobody else is looking (5, Interesting)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672653)

I wonder this might be used for nefarious purposes.

if (minor_is_alone)
  play(cigarette_ad.avi);
else
  play(tickle_me_elmo.avi);

But who is watching??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672659)

While there is a certain inevitability about all this, I suspect some of the biggest opposition (at least in the short term) will come from the advertising companies themselves. I know of some people who were trying to commercialize a similar idea. The result of their trials was that it highlighted how few people actually pay attention to advertisements. So if you are a company renting electronic billboard space based on some projection of the number of people that walk past your space, the last thing you want your customers to know is that no-one is actually watching.

It's bound to happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672681)

that in Soviet Russia, you watch ads... wait a second! Oh wait, I saw this once on dr. who.

If this means... (4, Insightful)

Reapman (740286) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672717)

... less Tampon ad's, count me IN. As long as their not tying into credit card or purchasing history it doesn't bother me. I don't really want to have to start clearing out my real life "cookies" everytime I finish a shopping trip.

Re:If this means... (3, Interesting)

needs2bfree (1256494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672883)

I agree. I actually prefer targeted ads. The less makeup commercials I have to watch, the better. I dont even care about the purchasing history, as long as when im with my friends, an add doesnt shout "needs2bfree, Reduced price on Viagra, next isle"

Re:If this means... (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673699)

If only the targetting was perfect, cheap bastards like me wouldn't have to watch any ads as we buy the same white label crap every week and the margins wouldn't support advertising.

Re:If this means... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673131)

The ones with rounded ends are easier to - you know - use.

Not trying to get marked as Troll, but i SWEAR (2, Informative)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672757)

This is NOT new news, and that at LEAST 2 WEEKS ago i read about this. Somewhere in the article Japan was mentioned.

And, no, i'm not referring to this even OLDER article:

http://www.multichannel.com/blog/BIT_RATE/6720-Microsoft_s_TV_Ads_That_Watch_You.php [multichannel.com]

For some reason... (1)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672823)

When i read this, I kept thinking of some Geico ad with a pile of money and two plastic eyes...

Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672853)

If I'm the one in a thousand passers-by who stops to look at the ad, DON'T CHANGE IT YOU IDIOTS.

Anyway, more reason to suppress the remaining interest in commercial messages.

Personal perspective here? (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672859)

This is marketing gone too far, but not for the reasons you're thinking. Technology is being misused here because this is profiling in a pretty mask. This very same technology is used in airports, trying to identify people's emotions, their age, ethnicity, gender, and every other physical attribute we can categorize and has at least a minimal social meaning. And although the argument for harm here is greatly diminished (I get an advertisement not meant for me versus an unsolicited gloved finger, optional lube), it's still non-zero.

As an aside, things that were unimaginable even ten years ago for surveillance are now commonplace. Did you know that every almost Target store in the United States is being fitted (or retrofitted) with Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems? In english, they tag you to your car. And in another five years or so, likely your face, credit card number, and possibly driver's license information, all together. The technology is already installed, it just needs a software update. And I should know -- I pushed those updates and worked with the guys who managed the camera installations. And before you jump on Target for this -- thousands of businesses are doing the same thing. And some of them are sharing their data, creating black lists and more. It won't be long before no matter where you go, you're being weighed, measured, and found wanting. And you were worried about black helicopters and guys in suits with no sense of humor? At least the NSA, CIA, FBI, and other three-letter acronym'd agencies have laws, rules, procedures, and professional codes of conduct to uphold. And appeals processes. Good luck getting out of Target's system... You'll still be there, long after your body has decomposed in a hole somewhere. All you geeks dreamed of an interconnected world; Everything is part of the 'net. Well, it is. And what a hell it is.

But back to the topic at hand... Even people can't guess gender, ethnicity, or age with a high degree of accuracy. A computer, by necessity, will be far worse at this. And I have a very good idea of how that's going to go over. See, my gender is difficult to tell. At the drive-thru or on the phone, I am a "ma'am". At the post office service desk, I'm usually a "sir". On the bus, I get eyes from creepy old guys and straight girls. And both lesbians and gays, amusingly enough. My life is full of delicious ambiguity. My friend's ethnicity, because of a delicate balance of traits, is taken for whatever race the person looking at her happens to be. It has led to some VERY interesting social engagements.

But as amusing as it is most of the time, it has been dangerous and frustrating at other times. I was once refused admission to an urgent care on the grounds that my medical card had the right name on it, but the wrong gender. That made for an expensive and unnecessary trip to ER. I've called my bank before and been told that I couldn't access my account (despite giving all the requisite details) -- same reason. My friend was nearly jumped for wearing "gang colors" -- a situation that my white friends have never experienced. Getting these "little" social details wrong can have severe consequences for a person.

And to bring it all home, imagine walking by one of these machines and having it spring to life, point to you and say in a loud booming voice -- "You should try our new maxi pads, miss!" if you're a guy. Or getting a "Gilette! The best a man can get!" commercial if you're a girl. Oops. The possibilities for embarrassment are endless... and you'd better believe someone's going to sue over this. And rightfully so.

Re:Personal perspective here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672983)

I don't think many people would jump on Target for wanting to do this, rather, the assholes like you who actually do.

I know, you need a job and you are just following orders.

Re:Personal perspective here? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673135)

I don't think many people would jump on Target for wanting to do this, rather, the assholes like you who actually do.

Yeah, because busting shoplifters to keep prices low (a benefit to you, the customer) is an activity that should be condemned. In other news, if you have a problem with it you should take it up with your elected officials and make sure that the technology's use is restricted only to activities you do not find morally objectionable. Or, you could blame the engineer, just like people blame gun manufacturers because people use them to commit crimes. But you should know that blaming others, like prayer, has a zero percent success rate in fixing the problem.

Re:Personal perspective here? (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673021)

Have you read the story by Marshall Brain called "Story of Manna".

Here's the link [marshallbrain.com] . It's as you say, but in a fiction story, buy oh soo true.

Re:Personal perspective here? (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673225)

Did you know that every almost Target store in the United States is being fitted (or retrofitted) with Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems? In english, they tag you to your car.

Confirmation. [abovetopsecret.com]

I see a market for gadgets that can easily make plates unreadable when not on public roadways.
I'm thinking electrochromic plate covers.

Re:Personal perspective here? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673489)

But as amusing as it is most of the time, it has been dangerous and frustrating at other times. I was once refused admission to an urgent care on the grounds that my medical card had the right name on it, but the wrong gender.

And how long had you been carrying around that card meaning to someday get around to getting ready to get it fixed?

"Minority Report" strikes again (4, Insightful)

bfwebster (90513) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672949)

While I think there were some plot holes and flaws in Spielberg's adaptation of "Minority Report", and I firmly believe he wussed out on the ending, the film has had a remarkable knack of pointing out realistic future technologies (witness how the midair-gesture-oriented UIs keep popping up). Of course, "Minority Report" had the public ads that not only recognized your gender, etc., but actually recognized you. Given advances in face and other biometric recognition systems, this part of "Minority Report" may be coming true sooner than we all think (and hope). ..bruce..

In Soviet Russia.... (0, Redundant)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672953)

Oh, never mind!

And sensors that can tell when women are ovulating (1)

h4x354x0r (1367733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26672955)

...so the security guys can hit on them at just the right time.

Watch this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672967)

in amerika ads watch you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26672989)

in soviet russia you watch ads that watch YOU! watch them watch YOU!

Some people may be insulted by these ads (0, Redundant)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673003)

that change when they stop to look at them.

They stopped to look at one ad, like for McDonald's new McTriple sandwich.

Then the ad changes for Weight Watches because some fat guy stopped to look at it. Then he gets upset and then the ad changes to one for Anger Management. Then he flips it off and gets a WWE Ad for "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's DVD. Then he laughs at it, and it shows a picture of him and some guy appears on the screen and tells him he's been Punked, please watch the "Punked" show on MTV.

TMI? (2, Interesting)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673009)

At what point does Big Business learn enough about human psychology and "psychohistory" [wikipedia.org] that it's malignant and no longer arguably neutral or benign?

News like this is a reminder that we passed that threshold some time ago.

Where is the "Opt-out" button or list for this? (3, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673029)

It's bad enough that we're being watched by traffic cameras out in public and CCTV security cameras in other places, but NOW we're going to have to put up with THIS? I find it somewhat intrusive and more than a little creepy!

MEMO TO ADVERTISERS: I have TIVO. I DON'T WATCH COMMERCIALS in the first place. I have AdBlock, FlashBlock, and NoScript installed in Firefox because I DO NOT WANT your damned fucking ads in my face. I ***DO NOT WANT*** your stupid fucking targeted ads in my face in PUBLIC either, so GTFO!

Re:Where is the "Opt-out" button or list for this? (0)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673235)

I ***DO NOT WANT*** your stupid fucking targeted ads in my face in PUBLIC either, so GTFO!

It's in public, so why don't you GTFO? Since when should use of a public space be constrained by what *you* want?

You're in public. They are displaying ads. You don't have to look at them. As a matter of fact, you can go home, to a private space, and not have to see any ads at all.

Honestly, don't complain about intrusive when it's in a public space, that just doesn't make sense. You have no expectation of freedom from others' speech in public.

Step 4: Lawsuit! (1, Interesting)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673119)

So how long until some mother sues a company because their adbox recognized her 14 year old son as a 20 year old and offered him a discount on condoms or cigarettes?

(Yes, I know that US law forbids cigarette ads in various medias.)

so, in soviet russia.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26673123)

you watch ads?
i don't get it.

Re:so, in soviet russia.. (0, Troll)

Elwood_Black (1384855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673497)

What the fuck is an ad?

What Kind Of Ad (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673343)

...would such a billboard produce if it were confronted with a few dozen people wearing Richard Nixon masks? Better, wearing some rubber butts over their faces. Or even just shining mirrors.

I can hardly wait to participate in a beta test.

In Soviet Russia (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673391)

In Soviet Russia bad joke writes you!

Japanese billboards are watching back already (1)

angry tapir (1463043) | more than 5 years ago | (#26673605)

Check out the article Japanese billboards are watching back [goodgearguide.com.au] :

Don't look now, but the advertisements are watching you. No, it's not a scene from the movie "Minority Report" where digital signboards served up personalized ads depending on who was passing by, but a real-life example at a Tokyo railway station. Above a flat-panel display hawking DVDs and books sits a small camera hooked up to some image processing software.

Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26673669)

I am all for any advertising technology that means I as a white person will no longer be subjected to those embarrassingly patronizing "black" McDonald's ads.

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