Asked recently where I think advertising is going wrong. AI is one area that is having devastating consequences on our industry and it’s scarily here now and the speed of application and use is accelerating at an alarming rate. Many of you already know what this is, AI = Artificial Intelligence. Collected mostly by Facebook and Instagram. Many consumers will be unaware of how this social media giant is using their volunteered data in order to sell information to advertisers and they are making millions from it.
Facial recognition, is just part of what AI is all about and FB is good at making money from it and has been doing just that for some time. They can recognise an individual instantly anywhere on the social media site even if that person is standing in the shade or is only partly on view. They have almost 98% success in matching faces. They are following you everywhere. It’s so ‘Big Brother is watching you’ a phrase penned by George Orwell in his book ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ written back in 1949. Used to describe a totalitarian state where everyone was ruled for their own sake and protection, yeah right!!!!!!!
What consumers won’t know is that FB and Instagram are now one and the same and they have extended their AI to recognise products in the same photos that they recognise the individual. Let’s say for example someone posts a selfie and in the photo they are drinking a coffee. FB will recognise exactly what the beverage is, now suppose it is a branded cup, say Costa!! FB will recognise the beverage and also the brand. They will then sell that information on to an advertiser. So for example when the consumer that posted the selfie drinking a Costa coffee opens his/her FB soon after posting they will be wondering why it is that they have an ad appearing on their page promoting Starbucks. Well that’s because FB just sold your AI data instantly to Starbucks. And they perform this trickery at the rate of billions of images per minute. Even if your selfie with your Costa coffee was actually posted on your friends FB page and they didn’t even tag you, it doesn’t matter, FB know who you are, well they do 98% of the time at least.
Scared yet!! OK so most of us have already accepted that cookies are recording our internet journey and using that information to make money from what we type into the search engine, what websites we visit, what items we view, what products we purchase. This information is already being sold across the planet to advertisers for huge sums of money, now they don’t even need to know what you typed, they just need to find your face in the millions of photo’s that are posted daily on these sites that they control. Is it legal? well, I thought you would ask that…… Facebook makes a very clear statement when you sign up ‘We can use your photo’s’ so effectively, users of these sites have agreed to it upfront.
The implications on other forms of advertising spend are already being affected as we are being sold this intrusive mass machine led medium, that in my opinion, has taken us right back to the ‘throw enough shit against the wall to see what sticks’ tactics. It might be lucrative right now for the social media-big brother watchers but there will come a time when people will get tired of this lunacy. Of course it not only has implications in terms of advertising, this AI data can also be seen by law enforcement and more frightening than that, potentially by politically or religiously motivated organisations. Really, no one is safe and it’s all down to our own vanity and sometimes innocent stupidity.
Those consumers that used to complain about the occasional mis-directed piece of direct mail aint seen nothing yet.
So if you are going to photograph yourself in the incontinence section of a well known pharmacy, don’t be surprised if you are bombarded by Tena, think about it.