Blog: Talk Back: Cameras, artificial intelligence in stores will know just what you want – The Daily Telegram
We often ponder the imponderables. Like why are there only 24 hours in a day? Why not 96? Or 144? Think of all the work — and fun stuff — you could get done. No question about it. We’ve got to put the way we mark the passage of time out to pasture.
You know — pasteurize it.
All of this flashed through our minds while making out the weekly grocery list. As usual, it contained plenty of staples. How else would we keep those little scraps of paper we write bread, milk, ice cream and other necessities on fastened together? But this time we added another important commodity.
Sunglasses. With highly reflective lenses.
Fashionable shades being de rigueur for the starring roles we were gunning for in the new Men in Black movie, we planned to pop in at the local audition, read our lines, and ink a couple bazillion dollar contracts on the spot before heading to the Piggly Wiggly for everything we needed to celebrate the occasion. Well, there was one “other” reason we needed Ray-Bans.
We didn’t want the supermarket — or more accurately, its new-fangled cameras — knowing what we’re looking at.
Now before you think we’ve got a couple screws loose — our trusty Phillips lets us do the tighten up with Archie Bell and the Drells anytime that happens — we’ve got news for you. The Alan Parsons Project is moving their eye in the sky to the grocery store shelves — installing penny-sized camera lenses below the milk jugs, next to the cereal boxes, and between the bags of potato chips. To keep track of what you pick up. What you put back. How many times you squeeze the Charmin. And a dossier of everything you look at. The end goal?
In-store ad-based behavior modification.
Linger by the end cap piled with Twinkies but opt for fresh fruit instead? A Hostess blue light special starts flashing double-time on the nearby digital display, urging you to dump that silly going healthy notion. If that doesn’t work, they’ll up the ante with an even sweeter deal at the check-out, sending you scurrying back to the bakery to fill the cart to overflowing with those delectable crème-filled sponge cakes.
But sophisticated eye movement scanning is only the beginning. This technology is so advanced it’s on the verge of figuring out your gender, age, and maybe your date of birth — just like that guy along carnival row at the county fair. And making judgment calls based on your appearance. Bearded wonders beware. The next display will pitch the benefits of reacquainting your face with shaving cream, a Norelco, or a Remington. All of which conveniently just went on sale.
Because nobody likes a guy who’s hairy noon and nighty-night night. The great and powerful Oz has spoken.
And it doesn’t just speak. It’s also the latest version of the mood ring. If you’re happy and you know it, the display is sure to show it. A special on processed rice. Because refined carbohydrates will transform any Pollyanna into Small Sad Sam. Down in the dumps while wandering the ice cream aisle? Up pops a buy one Rocky Road, get three free offer. And if it looks like the boss just reamed you out, the monitor helpfully suggests fish. Why fish?
Oh, just for the halibut.
Really. It’s a sure cure for anyone who’s feeling disgruntled.
And if that doesn’t creep you out, just wait till the audio component comes along a few years down the road. It’ll be a doozy!
Hey buddy! Over here! Yeah, I’m that big ol’ hunka sirloin you been eyeballin’. Ain’t that marblin’ sweet? Go ahead, pick me up. Pretty hefty, huh? Just right for slappin’ on the grill. Betcha you can hear it sizzlin’ already. Now be a good little boy, toss me in your cart, and go grab some Bud for your buds….hey, whadya doin’? Puttin’ me back? Seriously? Code six! Code six! Meathead’s not playin’ by the rules. Let’s get him!
Well, listen up, Piggly Wiggly. No rootiin’-tootin’, picture takin’, ad inundatin’, melon ball yellin’, futuristic Spy Who Loved Me is ever going to tell us what to buy. So we’re stocking up on the one substance that strikes fear into the heart of every camera lens known to mankind.
And embarking on the biggest smear campaign of all time. Because penny-sized or not, we’re gonna hunt them down and find them if takes all day.
And that’s a picture that’s truly worth a thousand words.
Talk Back with Doug Spade and Mike Clement is heard Saturdays 9 a.m. to noon on WABJ, 1490 AM, Adrian, and at www.dougspade.com and www.lenconnect.com.