Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Did You Hear? Privacy is Dead.

An easy way to predict the future is by watching movies.

I know, I know... Most movies about the future have no foundation in reality. But every once in a while we get a glimpse into what our fourth dimensional minds will produce in the next five to ten years.

Recently, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg expressed his desire to reveal more "private" data to public and media consumption, potentially opening the doors for targeted and highly interactive advertising. Let's get real for a second; before Facebook can go public (and trust me, it's not a matter of if, but when - regardless of what you hear from the officers of the company) they need more profit on the books, and the current advertising model isn't sustainable. I've already postulated on what the future of Facebook looks like, and wild as my vision may be the principle still holds water.

When I do technographic and digital behavior analysis of target audience groups, it's apparent that privacy boundaries are a generational phenomenon. What is considered personal and confidential by Generation X is thought of as open and public by Generation Y or Millennials. But what level of digital privacy is uncomfortable even for the tech savvy social medialites of today?

The 1997 film GATTACA (if you haven't seen it I highly recommend you do) features a bleak, postmodern world in which everything from employment to human coupling is based on genetic superiority, and establishing the validity of your mate or job candidate is as simple and painless as swiping a credit card.

Over the counter genetic testing technology is advancing at a startling pace. GATTACA may have given us a peek into what the future of these products holds.

Mixing a social technology cocktail

If testing yourself for genetic disease isn't scary enough, how about posting your results to Facebook? Are we preparing to raise a generation that literally has no privacy concerns? How about genetically targeted advertisements (bioadvertising) served based on likelihood of acceptance? Neuromarketing has nothing on this stuff...

UPDATE: Facebook VP of Public Policy Elliot Schrage comments on recent privacy missteps

Nick Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 9 years, and helps the Fortune 100 identify unmet consumer needs, create ideas to fill those needs, and bring them into market. He currently works at Maddock Douglas.
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