classic_jukebox.jpgLast 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 “right” playlist might one day qualify you for suspicious behavior?

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.

One Response to “Creep-Ola”

  1. sky
    October 9th, 2007 | 10:07 am

    Its owner/CEO is Glenn Streeter:

    I think in the near term it would be used mostly for targeted polictical mailing lists. Music mailing lists are probably available and good correlations would seem to make sense since music is often about joining a certain culture.

    I’d actually be surprised if it was used much for detecting ‘suspicious behavior.’ It seems like something ‘They’ would use for normalization–mainstreaming apolitical messages and diluting any political styles with apolitical versions of the same. It’s easy to see in hip-hop’s evolution; also maybe punk.

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