Marketers Can’t Predict What You’ll Buy—Even If They Use A.I.

Popular media has been warning us about the ability of unsavory marketers and other bad actors to predict and even control our choices using the latest in tracking and artificial intelligence technologies.  

In the 2019 Netflix documentary The Great Hack, for instance, the case is made that the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica scraped social media to gain deep insights into individuals’ psyches. Using these insights, the filmmakers argue, that firm was able to design carefully targeted ads to manipulate the 2016 U.S. Presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. In discussing the events depicted in the film, the well-known technology investor Roger McNamee averred that technology companies “have a data voodoo doll, which is a complete digital representation of our lives. With it, they can manipulate our behavior.”

Likewise, the Harvard psychologist Shoshana Zuboff recently warned of digital marketers, “The idea is not only to know our behavior but also to shape it in ways that can turn predictions into guarantees… the goal now is to automate us.” Read more…..


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