Friday, February 23, 2018

Can Other People Read Your Most Secret Thoughts?

This week I saw a press release announcing that The Amazing Kreskin was back. He bills himself as a mentalist, but when cornered says he's just an entertainer. The news item brought to mind some of the ways eCommerce technology is reading our thoughts. Here's a blog post from 2011 about the degree to which we're being watched by the machinery of the Internet age.

It Doesn't Require Mental Telepathy Any More

Magicians have always been fascinating to me, and no doubt to many others as well or there wouldn't be so many sold out magic shows in Las Vegas every week. Much of the magic is simply technique and trickery, illusion and misdirection. But what about the mind readers? How real is mental telepathy? Can one person read another's most secret thoughts?

Actually, now that we live in the Facebook age there's very little hidden any more about many of us. A 2011 UPI story stated, "The social networking site, whose profits come primarily from advertising, had been vague about its collection of tracking data. But it now acknowledges it can use cookies to create a 90-day log of where each of its members have gone on the Web after visiting a Facebook page, USA Today reports."

Privacy advocates want to stop this practice, but the ad agencies love it. It gives them the ability to target specific rifle shot ad messages to people who by their behavior have revealed their hot buttons.

This explains why the day after I was looking for a hat on eBay there appeared ads for hats on my Facebook page. What's scarier is that people are having their emails scrubbed for hot-button words so that ads can be thrown their direction via their browsers.

How much do the computers know about us? The UPI story goes into great detail on exactly how many details they own on us. The ad industry doesn't need mental telepathy to know who we are or what we're about. Our social media and Internet activity proclaims all.

The article is thought provoking and worth checking out. Be sure to take two minutes to watch the video, What Facebook knows about you.

Just a little something to think about. (And yes, I know what you're thinking.)

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EdNote: I do not know the most current policies and practices of Facebook, Amazon, Google and the like. I only know that they're better at mind reading than Kreskin.

1 comment:

LEWagner said...

Gee, I hope they're not paying any attention to me. :)