Today’s reading from Greengard’s The Internet of Things left me feeling conflicted. If all of our data- from all of the sites and devices we use- is for sale, why do we rely so heavily on them? Perhaps it is that we don’t mind. The convenience of the site or device outweighs any negative feelings we might harbor towards data mining. Maybe some people-myself included- don’t do anything particularly private (read, illegal) and therefore don’t have any big secrets. Personally, I frequent the expected sites for a college student: Facebook, Google, Amazon, MyU, etc. I am not participating in any illegal activities, so I do not have anything major to worry about. However, what does concern and irritate me is the amount of ads I see based on items I briefly looked up two weeks ago. For example, I researched Capital One for one of my classes and since then I have only seen online ads for credit cards. Before that, I was browsing for glasses. I’m not even actively looking to buy new glasses, but I just wanted to get an idea for what style I might look for in the future. For weeks after that I saw nothing but glasses ads. It is annoying to be continuously bombarded with ads for things you might not necessarily even be in the market for, but it is not a deal breaker. That is to say, nobody is going to stop using the internet to buy things just because of the ads they will see later on. However, I don’t think the method of using cookies to generate ads is terribly effective. Most people just ignore the ads. However, if ads could be tailored more even more specifically to consumer habits, then they might be able to “alter the way people shop” (Greengard 63). That is to say, the ad would be for something that the consumer didn’t even know the wanted or needed yet, but now they will buy it. Can there be an algorithm for “proactive advertising” or does that cross the line?

 

Source: Greengard, Samuel. The internet of things. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015. Print.

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