A Netherlands arts group, Studio Smack, put together this video which provides a stark look at all the logos and advertising one is exposed to throughout a normal daily routine.
When our senses are assaulted by so many messages, I suspect that we filter most of them out, at least from our conscious mind. This filtering has led to an arms-race of sorts among advertisers, who are constantly seeking new “views”. As the old ads are filtered and lose effectiveness, new ads must be placed in novel locations or using other tricks to ensure the potential consumer pays attention.
Visually, the video above reminded me of coming technology which has been dubbed “augmented reality“. Advertisers are already moving into this sphere, and I worry that there will come a day when one cannot operate in the world without such technologies. Imagine having to wear a special pair of glasses which would be necessary to check the weather forecast or your email, or even access Wikipedia articles about things that you see. Such glasses could also show you pop-up ads for various items as you walk down the street, and combined with geo-location technology, the possibilities for advertisers are nearly endless! As always, such devices will be sold with the promise that they enhance connectivity, or make our lives somehow more convenient.
Technology author Nicholas Carr is warning that the internet can be detrimental to one’s ability to concentrate and think deeply about subjects.
Every new technology in history — like the map and the clock — changed the way people think but Carr sees special dangers in the Internet.
While the Internet has enormous benefits in delivering incredible amounts of information at incredible speed, it’s also a distracting and interruption-rich environment.
Carr said it encourages quick shifts in focus — and discourages sustained attention and the ability to think deeply and creatively about one topic and to challenge conventional wisdom.
Popularity-driven search engines, in one of the ironies of an information-rich Internet, worsen the problem by leading everyone to the same sources, he said.
Social networks, while pleasurable and fun, increase distractedness by bombarding users with brief bits of information.
“We take in so much information so quickly that we are in a constant state of cognitive overload,” Carr argued.
“Multitasking erodes cognitive control. We lose our ability to say that this is important, this is unimportant. All we want is new information.”
How much more would “augmented technology” advertising impact our brains or psychology? I don’t have the answers, but I wish we were asking the question more often.