Ah, looking to the future of technology and how it will impact the world is a very exciting topic of discussion for me and my friends. It speaks to people’s opinions on whether the amazing advancements in technology we’re seeing develop will lead to a dystopia or utopia. In the dystopian perspective people anticipate the dissolution of privacy and human connection. A particularly good example is mentioned in the “3 Dimensions of iCulture” article where they discuss the dangers of interactive marketing. This is something I’ve been vary wary of also. Although many interactive marketing campaigns give the illusion of greater user control and customization, the real benefits of this process go to the company organizing the campaign, in the form of their audiences precious personal information. Name, phone number, email address, credit card info, type of phone, product preferences. Years ago, before I was as saavy things like this, I didn’t understand the value of personal info like this. I thought, it’s just simple facts about me, why do I care? Sure you can have it if you want. Now I understand that to marketing agencies, this is and amazingly powerful resource. To understand all of you audiences preferences and places to contact them allows marketers to customize your approach in increasingly invasive and sometimes creepy ways.
One danger that I’ve been particularly wary of is the annoyingly large amounts of websites and services that insist on me connecting my facebook account to their website and gaining access to the treasure trove of info that lies there. The reward is tempting, getting to bypass lengthy registration processes for once click access to a new account. But I’ve become very uncomfortable with every site I go to wanting a peek at my profile. Not only does my Facebook profile have access to my birthday, a lot of my “likes”, almost all of my friends and a personal history of mine stretching back almost a decade at this point, but Facebook has the ability to look at the statuses I’m posting and the discussions I’m having with my friends, and then market any products related to what I’m discussing. It was a little unsettling to me when I started talking about video games with my friends, and then more and more ads for the newest games started appearing in my sidebar. And I imagine every website with Facebook log-ins having access to that kind of audience analysis and I realize what a great asset this must be, and how much money they must make off of this info. It really is valuable. And how we deal with this in the future will be interesting. Will there be legislation passed to protect people’s info or police the distribution of or info by companies like Facebook? Or is this a new fantastic era for consumers where all of their needs and wants are anticipated and presented to them with no effort involved in looking? This also plays into a phenomenon I’ve researched that I think is called the “Filter bubble”, which is the bad side of algorithmic customization of the web to show people what they “want” to see, but often filters out new ideas and challenging opinions resulting in a sort of masturbatory circle of unknowing ignorance and self-indulgence. But that is by itself its own discussion that riffs off of technological dystopias. But once again shows the potential power of simple information.