The Day Broadband Took Over Our Lives

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Broadband networks are becoming more intelligent in the applications running on them.  Your browsing habits are recorded and analyzed to provide you with the best in advertisements.  Interactive cable TV allows you to vote for your favorite stars and also monitors you viewing history so targeted commercials may be inserted for your viewing pleasure.

You can also order advertised products directly from the screen.  It can be an enjoyable experience for you since a portion of the commercials are just for you.  Even the Internet service provider gets in an ad or two.  Aren’t interactive TV and interactive networks a great timesaver and fun at the same time?

Years into the future…

I remember the day it finally happened.  My video alarm clock woke me up and then displayed a live feed of the traffic in the area along with an overlay of the current temperature and weather forecast.

I stretched and attended to an itch on the back of my neck.  An advertisement for Golden Town Anti-itch Cream popped up interrupting my weather report.  I heard the coffee maker click on and start its gurgling.

I yawned deeply, and before I could stand up, my clock suggests I add some Deluxe Super Energy Boos-tea to my coffee.  I pressed YES on the display and the additional energy was added to my pot of brew.

I padded into the kitchen, retrieved my super-high-energy coffee and cooked breakfast.  I sat in front of my touchscreen laptop and read the news while eating.  As I started to put a piece of sausage in my mouth, my news was rudely interrupted with two back-to-back cholesterol advertisements followed by a sign carried across the screen by an animated pig that read “Eat Healthy”.

I cursed at the interruption wondering how the network knew I ate a piece of sausage and I discovered the camera cover had automatically opened when I had first sat down.  Again my news was interrupted with an advertisement that asked if I wanted to enroll in anger management classes.  I had to press either the Yes or the No button on the screen before I could resume the news.

As I pressed No, I wondered whose database that answer was going to be stored and for how long.  (Note: At the next doctor wellness appointment I had, the doctor kept asking if I had any anger or violence issues.)

I taped shut the camera shutter and disconnected the microphone and enjoyed the rest of the morning writing my blogs and doing research.  The only interruptions were targeted advertisements embedded in the web pages I was browsing.  I actually enjoy the targeted ads, especially when a new gadget or electronic device pops up!

That afternoon, I sat down in front of the wall-sized TV to watch a movie.  I had some popcorn with real butter and was munching away just like in a movie theater.  A commercial came on suggesting I get Captain Brown’s Extra Fluffy Popcorn with HEALTHY Butter Flavoring.  Yes, this was targeted directly to me and I used the controller to select NO to decline a next-day shipment of said popcorn.

I smacked my lips and, well… you don’t need to know what commercial popped up at the next break.  The next ad showed off the latest voice-controlled universal remote and asked if I wanted one.  I said “NO”!  I already had that model I bought with cash at a walk-in store so no record of that purchase existed.

The broadband network must have read my mind, as an advertisement offering me a great deal on a new internet service provider popped up on the TV, computer, two tablets and my smartphone all at the same time.  If this type of advertising keeps up maybe it’s  time to switch.

It looks like the broadband network is taking over my life with all the interactive commercials and intrusive monitoring of my life.  I went over to my laptop to fire off a complaint email to the cable provider and noticed that the camera shutter was open and the tape holding it closed was torn.  There is no escaping the interactive broadband network.

Wake Up!

I really do remember the day this started.  It was November 29, 2012.  Verizon filed an application for a patent titled Methods and Systems for Presenting an Advertisement Associated with an Ambient Action of a User.

By using video and sound, Verizon will detect “eating, exercising, laughing, reading, sleeping, talking, singing, humming, cleaning, and playing a musical instrument.”  They will also keep track of “cuddling, fighting, participating in a game or sporting event, and talking.”  Even facial gestures will be detected.

They will even detect objects such as furniture, bottles bookshelves and just about everything in their field of vision.  They will use a separate or even multiple devices to display directed advertising.

Your smartphone could also use one or even both of its cameras with the microphone to gather your activities and present advertisements to you that are linked to your actions.  With the proper software recognition enhancements, they could really tell you were eating that piece of sausage, display cholesterol advertisements and even let your doctor know what you did.

Maybe my dream will come true.  Do you think interactive TV and broadband can go too far?

Photo: Big Brother Is Spying on You via Flickr by Tony Fischer Photography