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Great Technology Is Useless If It's Giving People The Creeps

Publication Date: 
May 24, 2012
Campaign (UK)
Russell Davies

Director of Privacy and Robotics M. Ryan Calo is quoted in the following article by Russell Davies of Campaign (UK) speaking about the "creepiness" of some new technology.

I remain convinced that the most important thing for marketing, and business in general, to get right over the next couple of decades is its use of, and relationship to, customer data - whether that data officially "belongs" to the customer or not.

For that reason, I believe it's worth exploring interesting edge cases when they come up, because it's thinking about the hard stuff at the fringes that will help us get the mainstream decisions right.


I suspect your reaction to this would be rather like mine. You can see why people might use it but, at the same time, it seems a bit, well, creepy. And after seeing a Tweet a while ago quoting Ryan Calo of Stanford Law School's Centre for Internet and Society saying 'Creepiness is a stand-in for concerns that we can't yet articulate. An early warning signal', I've become increasingly convinced creepiness is worth thinking about. There's something wrong here, but it's too new for us to know exactly what it is. SceneTap can point out that all the data it collects is anonymous, that it can't be tied to any individual, that most bars already have some form of surveillance going on, that it already has tons of users - but it still doesn't seem quite right.