AI, Algorithms, Targeted ads, cell phones with ears, online privacy, etc. How bad is it going to get?

by JimmyDangleton

So I’m the dude with a flip phone. No Google (cept for on my fliphone brower. Can’t get DuckDuckGo on there). No Netflix or any of that crap. No social media. No Amazon Prime. For a few years now I’ve been avoiding that crap like the plague. Wife still ingests that crap on a daily basis, stares at her phone a good bit, and I’m around that.

As time has gone by, I have come to notice coincidence after coincidence with targeted ads, recommended videos/movies, even stuff recommended on Reddit. Not just for stuff like a beer brewing kit or what I might look at online. But stuff that is just so downright accurate and intrusive, its creepy.

A while back, I was talking to my wife. “Hey, I’m about to go fishing at the lake. I’m gonna drop the boat in and go fishing. Boat. Fishing. Lake.” Go to check the weather on the nearby Mac Desktop, ad that pops up on the side is and ad for checking your boat and trailer at the boat ramp for invasive aquatic hitchhikers.

Talking to a buddy months ago. We were casually talking about flying. Buddy starts talking about how nice first class is. The next day I get an ad for discounted first class plane tickets.

Recently at work some dudes were telling me to watch the movie “Training Day” with Denzel Washington. I flip open the clam phone, go to search in the Google search tab, I type in “Training” and the top recommendation in the drop down menu is the movie, Training Day. With only me typing in “training.” What about training shoes? Training pants? Training this or that? WTF!!!

They started calling me “Ned Flanders” at work. Wife tells me she was on Reddit and was recommended a sub/thread for some metal band based off of Ned Flanders. Neither one of us had searched anything about Ned Flanders or the Simpsons recently.

I watched “The Patriot” on VHS the other night. Wife and I watched “Godzilla” on VHS the night before that. Wife tells me she turned on Netflix today and the top two rec’s were The Patriot and Godzilla.

Today I was drinking a Yuengling beer, listening to music on Youtube. Ad pops of for Yuenlgling beer. Never seen a Yuengling ad before.

I could go on and on with examples. Now that I have an eye out, the coincidences just keep stacking and stacking. Maybe some of them are just coincidences. And yeah, there are targeted ads based off of what I’ve searched for in the past (DuckDuckGo, Firefox Browser.)

Maybe I’m nuts! But I just keep noticing these things more and more, and they get deeper and deeper, down to the second, to the point where its got me wondering what in the hell is going on. I know there are algorithms, data tracking apps, stuff I don’t understand. I mean, I don’t believe there is a beetle-like man with a balding bowl cut listening and tracking everything I say and do, but some of these coincidences are just absolutely ridiculous, because the only way they could happen would be if my phone is listening and updating data by the split second, or other people’s phones that are nearby are! I just don’t even know.

There was a time when I was a bit paranoid, maybe even afraid. Now I’m more annoyed and wary. To what extent does these data-tracking processes go? The listening? The instantaneous gathering of data? Every day that goes by it just keeps getting more and more obvious, more alarmingly ridiculous coincidences, my wife sees them too!

What really got me was the VHS tapes. Not just one movie we watched, but TWO. Both from the mid 90s, early 2000s. Both popping up on recommended Netflix.

Lemme hear your thoughts. Tell me I’m nuts! Tell me you see it too! Tell me how far you think its gonna go and what it means. Because if they can get this data for selling us stuff, suggesting movies, what else can they use this data for? What about privacy!!?