One Day We Won’t Want to Block Ads

September 16, 2008

We take the badness of ads for granted.

Advertising has come up a few times in our Ubiquitous Computing discussions.

First it came up in a discussion of Augmented Reality. “Wouldn’t it be nice if my glasses could automatically block out ads?”

Then it came up in a discussion of personalization. In a world where computers know who you are and what you are trying to do, it would be hypothetically possible to target ads with great accuracy. “This is scary and bad.”

In a future where computers know who you are and what you are trying to do, advertising won’t be undesirable.

If you’re the kind of person who hates branding ads, it will be in the big brands’ interests not to piss you off. Better ad targeting can mean not showing ads, too.

If you’re the kind of person who hates being sold something you don’t need, better ad targeting means you’ll only be shown ads for Coke when you’re thirsty. Maybe it even means you’ll be shown the directions to the nearest Coke machine when you’re thirsty. If you don’t like Coke, you’ll never be shown ads for it. You’ll get juice or water bottle ads instead.

Better ad targeting is good. One day, people will think of ads as helpful.

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