IBM predicts advertisers will know absolutely everything about you

IBM has taken a long hard gaze into its crystal ball and forecast a world no longer filled with spam, as its analytic systems allow for more personally-tailored adverts.

Around this time of the year, Big Blue dons its Mystic Meg wig and speaks sagely of things to come in its Five In Five predictions that have been going on since 2006. 

IBM, not afraid to talk up the magic that happens behind closed offices doors, proudly claims that it is “bridging the gap between science fiction and science fact on a daily basis”.  And this year IBM has given us all a hint as to what technologies will be popular in the midst of time of this dystopian future, circa 2016, and once again there is not a hoverboard in sight.

Apparently, “people power will come to life”, with activities such as walking, jogging and running all helping to power homes, as well as even the heat from your computer.  Some expect that energy harvesting will become more mainstream as soon as next year.

Advances in retina displays and other biological reading kit will also mean that in 2016 forgetting your PIN number won’t stop you taking out your last remaining few quid.

As TechEye has covered, brain computer interfaces will increase in sophistication, with IBM predicting quite rightly that applications for gaming could be very exciting.  IBM also predicts that the digital divide will cease as smartphones get damn near everywhere.

But IBM also sees the future of advertising becoming even more intricate, and heralds the death of what it defines as spam. 

“In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalised and relevant it may seem spam is dead,” IBM said in a statement today. “Junk mail will become priority mail.”

Using real time analytics to integrate data from “all the facets of your life” – such as social networks and so forth – IBM’s sci-fi advertising will take a leaf out of Futurama’s book by tailoring itself to the user.

Just like Facebook provides you with targeted ads on site, IBM reckons advertising will become so personalised you want wish to bin it.

Of course, the idea that advertising companies would have such an intense connection with the person is rather unnerving, and almost enough to rouse Bill Hicks into a posthumous tirade.

One retail analyst, who did not want to have their place of work named, said that just the thought of such heavily targeted ads was more than a little uncomfortable.

“The thought of having adverts targeted that specifically to me is more unnerving than anything else,” he told TechEye.

“IBM’s lab researchers might be thrilled at using analytics and software that efficiently, but it is with disregard to anything other than the convenience of advertisers, who will do all they can to boost margins and sales.

“Ironically, by narrowing down advertising to a very personal level, it looks like IBM’s scientists are well on the road to making sure people become even more of a hive-mind, spendthrift, consumer commodity than ever before.”