Monday, July 23, 2012

Safest (or Scariest) City in the World?

So while researching the article on Minority Report's retinal scanning that I'm writing for this quarter's Perspectives, I discovered something I never thought I would discover. Ever. Never ever. Particularly in this day and age. But perhaps that is my naivety/remaining faith in humanity talking.

Apaz (that is cool-kid speak for 'apparently' - or so I'm told), as of 2010, there is an entire city in Mexico - Leon - to be precise, that is introducing retinal scanning as a form of identification across the entire city. I'm talking buses, trains, ATMs - the lot. Police will also use the scanners to track individuals on watch-lists. In an article by Fast Company, Jeff Carter, CDO of  Global Rainmakers Inc. who are providing the scanners somewhat boldly states; "Fraud, which is a $50 billion problem, will be completely eradicated. If you've been convicted of a crime, in essence, this will act as a digital scarlet letter. If you're a known shoplifter, for example, you won't be able to go into a store without being flagged. For others, boarding a plane will be impossible." Sound creepy? That's because it probably is, a bit. But on the other hand, I understand why they feel it may be necessary. Especially with all the world has been through since the turn of the century.

He even goes so far as to say that he believes every person, place and thing on the planet will be connected to iris/retinal scanners in 10 years. Man, this dude is confident.

In terms of marketing implications, GRI believe that in 10 years, retinal scanning will be able to inform advertisers by tracking the emotion and intent of consumers walking past billboards. While great for giving consumers targeted, relevant ads - the age old issue of privacy comes into play. And it's a serious concern. Do we really want billboards calling out to us by name - as they do with Tom 'DangerIsMyMiddleName' Cruise in Minority Report - and asking us how that pair of extra-large, stomach-control pantyhose worked out for us last time? I'd rather leave that sort of information to the depths of my over-used ASOS account.

No comments:

Post a Comment