"Why Do Mannequins That Spy On Us Creep Us Out?" ..but there are business opportunities in knowing your customers.

posted Jan 1, 2013, 4:14 AM by Peter Joseph Moons
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/11/28/why-do-mannequins-that-spy-on-us-creep-us-out/  - Forbes.com

The panopticon is expanding extremely exponentially.  Now stores, businesses, offices, etc can install mannequins with embedded cameras to monitor activities on their premises...or even beyond their perimeters.  The EYE SEE mannequins can, amazingly, calculate "age range, gender, race, number of people and time spent" in a location.  Imaginably, the next step is to link the system into facial recognition technology; doing so would allow customer-specific advertisements, greetings, special offers, etc to be broadcast directly to a person.  More ingeniously would be to determine if the person was hungry and offer them tantalizing food choices, catalog persons' cravings such as chocolate or tobacco, or even a type of perfume, and when the recognized person enters the store, launch the pleasant aroma wafting towards them.  An advertisement could hit their eyes the same time their brains register the pleasant scent.  Thus, a store could send out two stimuli -- scent and sight -- with the same message: "You want to buy this now."  This concept appears to be where Facebook has headed with its facial recognition camera.

One other point on the EYE SEE mannequins: They will be great to determine the demography of consumers at businesses.  Imagine knowing that a specific segment enters your store to browse only, while another portion of the population spends a specific amount of money every visit, or even comes to buy only one or just several types of products.  This kind of market breakdown was once done only by the tedious process of observation but now is possible by cameras, computers, and algorithms.  Similarly, Wal-Mart knows what times of the month or day consumers buy specific products; the next logical step is knowing who buys what, when, and where.  (Note here that companies like Axciom consolidate and analyze data on consumers but this technology, combined with other forms of analytics, takes the process one step farther.)

The Control Grade of this technology is potentially very high, if a government allows companies to discern which types of customers are wanted and which are not.  Many if not most national governments or constitutions explicitly prohibit such activity.  However, the ability to categorize and even specifically identify customers surreptitiously provides tremendous power.  The individual, by contrast, can choose to merely not patronize an establishment that employs such technology, for now, but one day, most businesses may have such cameras, covertly or overtly employed, to know more about their customers.

Government Control Grade: 5. Freedom Grade: 5.

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