October 1, 2007
Last Saturday night I was at a bar downtown for a friend’s birthday. I decided to pick out a few songs (no, I didn’t use the obnoxious “play now” feature).
After selecting my songs, the Rock-Ola internet jukebox asked me if I wanted to take a quiz. It asked me for my gender and age bracket, and then asked me what issue I thought was the most important one in the 2008 presidential elections (I think the choices were the environment, ending the Iraq war, health care, social security, & What Election?).
I was mildly surprised that this machine was collecting this kind of data, until I realized that they must be attempting to correlate musical taste with political leanings (they knew the songs I chose). This could come in quite handy when trying to directly target political advertising, or even redistricting. I couldn’t easily figure out who owns Rock-Ola, or where this information is going, but I hope to figure it out soon.
The trick will be to make the analytics software work in a useful way. “The challenge is going to be teaching computers to recognize the suspicious behavior,” said Smith. “Once this is done this will be a very impressive city in terms of public safety.”
So, looks like these kinds of auto-behavioral-classification systems are leaving the nursing home and IBM’s “smart surveillance” is now loose on the Chicago streets. I knew that we are all dying, sick, and crazy, and I suspect all of us exhibit behaviors which are suspicious too.