Thursday, January 7, 2010

A 1984ish nightmare...

Being involved in the technology industry I see the forefront of all the innovations on the technological cusp. Some of it scares me, like for example, targeted advertising using the information about you on the internet. Imagine a person has a bad gambling addiction, he or she frequents gambling sites and pursues its different avenues. This is tracked and known by advertisers who then bombard that person with advertising about gambling related activities when they are online. Let's say that the person wants to stop gambling, realizing it has become an addiction and is actively mustering up the courage to fight its addictive power.

Is is therefore morally wrong for the advertisers to be feeding this person with the addiction that they know exists and is very powerful? For an advertiser of any stripe it is a dream come true: being able to target specific people customizable ads catered to that person's wants. When the ads are in the back of a magazine or in a place you could frequent is one thing, but when it can follow you and hit you when you least expect it is another level entirely. These are moral issues that technology is forcing us to glance at for a very long time.

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