The Panopticon. Now With An Improved Menu!

January 20, 2007
"When I go to a restaurant, and look at leftovers on my plate, I don't see food, I see information. If the restaurant were Google, they wouldn't just take that plate and scrape it off into the trash. There would be a camera in the kitchen, photographing every plate coming back, with analysis of what people liked and disliked, and what portions were too big, helping to optimize future servings."Jon Orwant,
on O'Reilly Radar
A recent post on O'Reilly Radar describes a "pervasive culture of measurement" which is touted as an example of how "smart" web companies these days are maximizing their use of data from their consumer's "leftovers."


Waitasecond. Photographing my leftovers? You're totally creeping me out. I mean, I get the point, but is that really the direction that savvy Web-2.0-aware businesses take these days? The overtone of pervasive surveillance makes me feel a bit ill. Minus points for O'Reilly implying that this will lead to Web 2.0 apps that are constantly improving themselves based on user activity. Of course the corporate world has always wanted to know as much about me as possible. But what do they usually do with it? Banner Ads.