It’s never bothered me to get captured by surveillance cameras. I know it annoys some people that everywhere we go, there’s a lens on us. Add to that, the people who feel the need to record everything, grabbing our images in the process.
It’s not that privacy doesn’t matter. It does. But some people are simply alarmists. I posted this tweet in response to a report from the US that Amazon’s Echo (Alexa) can pinpoint the coordinates of your house. One talk show host went so far as to write, don’t EVER use this technology! I responded:
That was Derek’s comment in response to the report but he let me have it! And it’s true. Most of these developments are nothing new and certainly nothing to fear.
But this is one going too far: Walgreens, Walmart, Kroger and a select few other retailers in the US are testing shelf-cams to capture customer reactions to products. They record the age, sex, and mood of shoppers to help them determine product selection and placement.
So, what if I frown at Rice Krispies or give Planters Peanuts the finger? I might grimace at grapes or fuss over frozen food. Will they count up the smiles and frowns and then decide to turf a product because of them? Maybe I always frown when I buy cereal because it’s so expensive. Then I’ll return for my favourite and find it’s gone because I didn’t give it a sunny grin. How does that help humanity?
They should take it further. Make the cameras digestible and put them IN the product. I can hear the ad now: “two scoops of raisins and one tiny piece of technology”! Why stop after recording our response to the cereal? May as well do a colonoscopy on the way out. There’s no end to the information they can glean!
Just put one of those survey machines beside the shelf. Give it three buttons with emoji faces on them: happy, neutral and sad. Customer slaps a face and gets on with their day. Leave my own face alone!