"So we have the human operator surrounded on both sides by very precisely known mechanisms," an American physicist called John Stroud once observed, referring to anti-aircraft gunners in the Second World War. "And the question comes up, 'What kind of machine have we put in the middle?'" Stroud went on to participate in the Macy …
I thought this article was going to say
That google track your eye movements to see what you're looking at, or other such creepiness.
Re: I thought this article was going to say
Pretty much a given, I'd say!
Have you watched Black Mirror? Have a quick think about the advertising in that.
Re: I thought this article was going to say
These can be inferred. There's an outfit that infers what you're looking at from where the mouse cursor rests. It's quite successful.
Benefit to Humanity
I do frequently wonder if the phrase 'no lasting benefit to humanity' might in fact describe the whole of the Internet, well as a minimum the World Wide Web.
Re: Benefit to Humanity
All that porn must have benefited someone.
Re: Re: Benefit to Humanity
But apart from the porn .... what has the Internet done for us?
Re: What has the internet done for us
Well there's cat pictures and videos.
"OK, apart from porn and cat pictures, what has the internet done for us?"
Re: Re: What has the internet done for us
Oh, and the online maps.
But apart from the maps, the cat pictures, the videos and the porn, what has the Internet done for us?
So even though there is obvious prior art I bet Google are going to try and patent it.
Try Virtual Light by Gibson.
Similar to something more reasonable in Eden of the East
Re: Re: Patent?
For Christ's sake, not this again. Writing about something does not make it prior art.
The patent requires that you show *how* you're going to do it, not just *what* you're going to do. I can't write a book about screens that you can roller onto walls and can light up a room, patent it, and wait for the money to roll in.
Where do people get this stuff, anyway? Is the urge to be outraged so strong that the smallest shreds of common sense are puffed away in the breeze?
@ David W.
"Where do people get this stuff, anyway? Is the urge to be outraged so strong that the smallest shreds of common sense are puffed away in the breeze?"
I can't speak for others, but I personally hold that the purpose of patents has become corrupted, that now they are being registered purely defensively for the express purpose of suing anybody who happens to invent something later that uses it. Patents are now stifling innovation and crushing out the small inventor. I myself have come up with a number of ideas for products which I can't make because some fucking greedy megacorp somewhere has a patent on the shape of a spring or something.
So I oppose the whole patent stupidity with a vengeance. What started out as a means to protect the little guy from exploitation has been turned about to suppress creativity and innovation in the name of greed. So any straw at which I can clutch, including nebulous claims of "prior art" must be brought to bear if we are ever to have a hope of defeating this madness.
Re: @ David W.
I'm not arguing with you there - I'm just sick of people doing the LOL IM gonna patent AIR LOL pay me to breath lol shit.
Encouraging hyperventilating drama queens may make your cause higher profile, but it also makes anyone associated who opposes the bullshit in the patent arena look more like a crank - kind of like how Peta's mind share means that if you say you're for animal rights, people immediately envision you pouring pig blood on a class of 5th-graders during their field trip to a petting zoo.
"Nobody feels able to challenge the nerds.
I wonder who, if anyone, will?"
People who can beat their click-through rates. It's similar to tyranny of the wind tunnel in car design; fundamentally it's easy to be wild and creative in [ad/car/$THING] design when you don't have to care about measuring success against effective test metrics. After the point of discovery of reliable methods to hit those metrics most cheaply is met much subsequent work will take that as a base and it's likely to look more and more similar.
Totally useless unless it's rooted and de-creepified. No doubt they'll sell loads anyway, if they don't look too dorky.
1) Has Google even said anything about Google goggles?
2) Do we really need to give them ideas about how to track even more stuff??
Even more scarier than these goggles
is the fact that someone someday will force us to wear this continuously day and night.
Re: Even more scarier than these goggles
Today, child molesters, tomorrow thought criminals...
"What matters [to people at advertising agencies] most is simple demographics (gender, age, newspaper-buying habits) which they've had for ages."
I take it that Mr. Orlowski missed the recent article in the NY Times Magazine about Target stores using behavioral analysis to, among other things, determine when their customers were pregnant?  And quite successfully too it seems.
I had missed that. Cheers for the link.
I saw that article and was creeped out a bit as I had recently been in a Target and they asked if I could take my driver's license out of the holder so they could scan it because the beverage I'd grabbed was an age restricted purchase and the computer wouldn't continue the transaction without scanning it. I looked at the screen and pointed out that the cashier could just enter my date of birth and scanning wasn't necessary. I think I may just print up an adhesive backed fake pdf417 code and head back to Target to stock up on porn, booze and mature video games under the name Gregg Steinhafel* just for lulz.
*The CEO of Target
Why do I think we're entering the kind of dystopic society depicted by the old TV series _Max Headroom_ with its unavoidably ubiquitous TV's and "instant ratings" based on viewing behavior. Substituge tablets and "Google Goggles" for the TV's and you have a scary similarity.
That's why you want Open Source
And that's why you also need software that is human readable and as many people as possible being able to program.
Computer are natural extensions to our brains, people rely on them. Yet less and less people actually understand what computers are doing. Look around you, there are people complaining about Facebook privacy settings being useless! Everyone with even a remote understanding of what a computer does knows very well that as soon as Facebook gets the data, they can and will do anything they want with it. The same obviously goes for any other company.
We need to finally get around and teach computer literacy at schools. It's something we should have been doing for decades now. And I'm not talking about how to open a file with $office_software, I'm talking about a basic introduction to programming. Just like school children learn the basics of physics and math, they need to learn about computers.
Re: That's why you want Open Source
I am afraid that this will not happen while those at the top feel superior because they are NOT computer literate.
Re: Re: That's why you want Open Source
They might feel superior, but eventually they will fall. For example the foreign foreign minister of Germany Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg was impeached because the Internet found out his doctoral thesis was largely copied from other works. He probably would never have thought that it would be possible combine the effort it takes to find out that he copied it. Now with the Internet it's fairly simple to set up a Wiki in order to collaborate. In the future it will be similarly simple to sieve through public databases and find all sorts of things. Being computer literate gives you an advantage over computer illiterate people.
@ Christian Berger
"Being computer literate gives you an advantage over computer illiterate people"
On the other hand, being a noble born millionaire gives Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg -his friends call him Joe- an advantage over the rest of us.
...any actual reference for the "record every tic" assertion? All I read in this article was a bunch of suppositions. Perhaps there are indeed plenty of sources, but I haven't seen them, and this article has taught me nothing aside from that Andrew Orlowski has 'Google' on his list of stuff to not like.
The problem is that the Reg runs stuff like this, and the commenters work themselves into a bloody froth seeing who can hyperventilate more (Today's winner so far is Anonymous Coward, who fears that Google will somehow staple these to our heads).
The irony is that the same commenters then run around laughing uproariously when the Think-Of-The-Children crowd gets going with their own hyperbole (eg, that Canadian dude saying that anyone who doesn't support his bill is in favor of child molestation).
Come on, people - if you're going to preen and crow about how logical and rational you are (and you will), don't go off half-cocked, to absurd extremes. And especially not based on an article which, on the face of it, appears to impart nothing more than an assertion of unspecified evils and a few tautly-worded incitements to panic.
There's one thing about all of this that nobody has mentioned by the way - people who do marketing (and I'm not talking about Google; I'm talking about their customers) are irrational. And they're in an impossible business, where despite all the tracking and oggling and googling, they still don't really have half a clue why any of this stuff works, or even if it's working
In that vein, a story - possibly true, and certainly plausible - regarding Tide pulling their NASCAR sponsorship, because sales weren't going up. People were so pissed about Tide (or similar national brand) yanking money from under their team that sales dropped like a rock (presumably in Tide's case this means a couple of percent; big money with those margins). Naturally, they backtracked, reinstated the sponsorship, and got their sales back. >>>
But they still had no idea of *having* the sponsorship increased their sales. If they'd never started the sponsorship, maybe sales would be the same. So now, they only knew that *removing* the sponsorship *decreased* their sales.
They could have watched every eye-twitch, beer glug, clothes-wash, zipper-pull, bowel movement, and whatever other intrusive method, and never figured out if a huge sponsorship campaign was doing anything at all.
There are certainly some areas - probably very-first-level lead generation - where this kind of stuff can be helpful. But it's not mind control, and even the most high tech and intrusive techniques will, (I think, as I am not a marketing guy, for what that's worth) have a serious diminishing returns problem.
There's going to be pushback from diminishing returns: We don't even know if this shit is working.
And pushback from a lack of adoption, driven by... well, it'll be impossible to tell. Maybe because it's intrusive, maybe because it feels wrong on the bridge of your nose, maybe because it doesn't work very well. You can do studies on these things, and then you can find out why the kind of people who like to do marketing studies didn't like it. Of limited utility.
In the end, all of this tracking and monitoring and recording is going to... decide which ad to serve you, .001% more accurately, and you'll see a thing in the corner of your eye saying "eWeek - ads by Google" as you look through your goggles. And you'll ignore it, just like you do when it's on your browser.
Another analogy: Conspiracy theorists are excellent at coming up with means for things for which there is no motive. They've put a radio in my head so they can control me! And there'll be huge amounts of frantic talk and conversation and pseudoscience and paranoid rambling, all of which will be enough to get everybody up to six million. >>>
But nobody will ever ask, "In what way do they want to control me, and why? And why is putting a radio in my head the best way to do it? If I already have the radio in my head, but nonetheless am aware of its existence, does that not make it a failure by definition? And if the radio is a red herring, does that not mean there's no way in hell I'll find out what's -really- going on?"
So, yeah - some of this stuff could be bad, the same way having a radio in your head would be bad. And it's alarming, just like the thought of someone stuffing Z104 FM Real Rock Radio into your brain-can is alarming. But that doesn't mean it will really do anybody any good, or that anyone is doing really what you're scared of, or that it would do anything bad except play today's best hits, with 50 minutes of music every hour. (That's nearly a minute of commercials for every song - which doesn't sound nearly as good)
There are a lot of things out there to worry about. This may be one of them. But if you ask me, it's a hell of a lot further down the list than, say, the possibility of Rick Santorum - a man who has said he opposes efforts to send kids to college - becoming president of the United States, or worse, the possibility of Armin Van Buuren defacto converting progressive trance into a saccharine, sappy, vocal-elevator-music-with-more-bass embarrassment to EDM.
Now there's something that makes my eyebrows twitch. <>
Watch with interest, the rise and fall of Google.
I think this article says it all calling Google out as being an advertising agency not a search provider.
But yes the extra data is meaningless and although people will buy now it won't last.
They're also assuming that I use Google search, YouTube etc for the same thing. Which is obviously nonsense.
Finally, I haven't clicked on a banner ad in over 10 years, I even started subconsciously filtering the yellow boxed results at the top of the page, clicking on them now is basically only done when I want to cost the destination site money or make them believe it works.
Indeed and as my colleague points out, I don't do anything interesting anyway.
Which strengthens my desire for anonymity. There's no reason or excuse for robbing me of my privacy, even if what I'm protecting is that I'm sitting on the sofa in my pants and the last person I phoned brought me a pizza.
Re: Re >>>#
My point there was not that it's OK to gather that kind of data, but that there's really no benefit in doing so. I find it interesting that a bunch of people here are going on and on about how Google is doomed because they never click on ads and Google can't do search they're just advertising so they'll be gone in two years - and this other bunch going crazy worrying about how Google is going to take over the world, and Larry Page is going to show up in their bathtub late at night.
You can't have it both ways, gentlemen.