For those with an interest in such things, this has been a long time coming. The company Quividi, who have been hawking their facial tracking system for a little while now, have teamed up with Amscreen, the owner of a network of advertising screens in convenience stores, petrol stations etc, to measure, in real-time, the attention paid to adverts screened in particular places. The problematic of the ‘attention economy‘, or the commodification of our capacity for attention within particular settings–mostly online, is being brought into more everyday settings as so-called ‘smart’ technologies become smaller and cheaper.
Here’s the thinly veiled sales pitch the BBC ‘Click’ programme were only too happy to share:
Which contains a lot of the footage Amscreen have filmed themselves for their own corporate video celebrating this new venture. Here’s Quividi’s own video explaining (and selling) how their technology works:
In the UK, already a highly surveilled country, there may be little reaction other than a shrug of the shoulders. However, should one wish to counter this kind of technology there have already been some nice experiments with forms of camouflage. Probably the best known example is the CV Dazzle project by Adam Harvey (for a Masters project in the NYU Interactive Telecommunications Programme). It would be entertaining if this became a sort of avant-garde fashion for make up…