back to article Big Beardie's watching: Gaze into the screen... it shall gaze also into you

Walk into a petrol station in the UK and you might see an Amscreen advertising things to you. But it's not only you who's doing the looking; it is looking at you too. It's nothing personal... The screen uses technology from Quividi to work out your age and gender. It looks at hair length, cheek structure, eye distance and …

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  1. chizz

    Freaked out ...

    ... by the last sentence in this article. Today is my first wearing my new chukka boots. Wondering now if everybody else that reads this article gets a different last line, courtesy of his scruffily bearded lordship.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Freaked out ...

      Chukka boots? It surely says "... before it can measure circumference of your wrist and offer you a new cheap Rolex watch", no?

      OK, only joking :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Freaked out ...

        This technology must have been out for ages. How else do you explain my inbox being full of baldness cures, weight loss pills and impotence remedies?

        1. Captain DaFt

          Re: Freaked out ...

          "This technology must have been out for ages. How else do you explain my inbox being full of baldness cures, weight loss pills and impotence remedies?"

          Well it needs tweaking then. I need neither penis enlargement nor increased bust size, But there's a good chance if I did need one, I wouldn't need the other!

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    But does it suggest based on age, sex, and current purchases?

    As in, bloke, 25-35, petrol + baby food = sell nappies?

    Or bloke, 25-35, petrol + tampax = sell fishing gear on the grounds that his weekend is stuffed?

    1. SisterClamp
      Holmes

      Re: But does it suggest based on age, sex, and current purchases?

      Only on the weekends, Neil? You disappoint me....

  3. Thomas Gray

    Size nine chukka boots?

    But will it offer you a jar of Anacondas?

  4. No Quarter

    How does it cope...

    with bearded women and men wearing bras stuffed with socks? Both key demographics.

  5. Valeyard

    never underestimate beard-detection

    it'll tell you if that long-haired guy wants a copy of the guardian or metal hammer

  6. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    More CCTV..

    It's not going to take long before some bright spark works out that tapping the data feed from all those ads is an excellent way to increase CCTV coverage :(

  7. Natalie Gritpants

    Wonder if it can recognize an evil glint in the eye and a box of matches and shut off the petrol pump.

  8. BlueGreen

    kill all advertisers

    Kill

    Kill

    Kill

    Kill

    I'm fucking sick of our 'culture' of treating humans (that's you) as unit of consumption ramming as much shite at them as possible to get them to spend as much as possible buying as much shite as possible.

    This will NOT reduce the cost of petrol one micro-penny.

    When next you see one of these, let them know you don't want it. If you don't it'll only get worse (QV the fucking animated ads in tube stations).

    1. ravenviz
      Big Brother

      Re: kill all advertisers

      I just think of it as entertainment, better than looking at a "meal deal" poster. I like to think I know my own mind enough to not get brainwashed into buying chukka boots, well at least until I go to TK-Maxx and they're half the price!

  9. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    "It doesn’t recognise people...

    "...so it can’t say “Hello Chief Anderton”, nor does it remember people with a view to selling you whatever you bought last time"

    ... YET.

  10. Irongut

    "It looks at hair length, cheek structure, eye distance and dark shadows to categorise you as male or female"

    I haven't seen one yet but I look forward to confusing it when I do. My hair is longer than most women's.

    1. kiwimuso
      Joke

      @Irongut

      "My hair is longer than most women's."

      Ah, but the beard might be a dead give away!!

  11. Bob Starling

    Niqab is starting to look like a great idea

    Either that or extend the tin foil hat to cover the face.

  12. Mike Brown

    how does an opt out work with this?

    surely if i wear a mask while walking into a petrol station i will get arrested?

    1. NumptyScrub

      Re: how does an opt out work with this?

      quote: "surely if i wear a mask while walking into a petrol station i will get arrested?"

      Probably, but you shouldn't. Wearing a mask is not a crime, so unless and until you actually start trying to rob the place, you have committed no crime.

      See also: motorcycle helmets on people who have just filled up the tank on a *gasp* motorcycle. I mean it's not like I'm required by law to wear a helmet in order to ride on the public roads or anything... *grumble grumble*

  13. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    I know there's a lot of hate about/against advertising (you'll find me there as well), but this tech, as it is presented now, is actually a good idea and makes clever use of impersonal data to improve the targetting of adverts while using largely commodity hardware to perform the task.

    In some ways it's easier to think of it as an automated attendant looking you up and down and either suggesting the "£1 for a bar of chocolate" or the "meal-and-a-paper" deal depending on what you look like. The serious problem comes when systems like these are enhanced and store your picture rather than just analyse and discard it and then start to link this image profile to locations and purchases (e.g. payment methods). After all, you wouldn't want to walk into a different shop/petrol station with your wife and be offered condoms because you regularly buy them from another shop using the same system would you? :)

  14. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
    FAIL

    Screens in the shop?

    Use the card reader on the pump.

    Seriously? What part of "DO NOT WANT!" do adbots not get?

  15. Cliff

    Amstrad's approach to products

    As I recall they've generally been pretty shit (tatty stereos, killed off Sinclair, 3" drives when the world used 3.5" on their word processor, email phones, etc), so it would not surprise me if this was a crock of crap under the covers.

    I wonder what the SMS message format is, be a chuckle if they just contain a URL and the SIM number is visible.

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