Google will now track your brick & mortar purchases

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Google will now track credit and debit card transactions at retail stores, in an effort to assess the effectiveness of their online advertising.

It will work like this:  A retailer places an ad with Google, which then targets likely buyers based on all the data it collects from our online visits.  With a tie-in to the retailer’s records, Google can associate the store’s customers with the ads, thereby proving their effectiveness.

Google is reassuring the public that the information will be converted to numbers so that the individual purchasers will not be identified, thus protecting their privacy.

Does that make you feel better?

The public would be up in arms if the government collected so much information about us.  Is it all that much better if a private corporation collects so much information about us?

But what if the data show that online advertising does not work all that well?  A television commercial, representing the biggest advertising vehicle that Google competes with, may be far more sophisticated in persuading people to buy things than those annoying little boxes that Google puts up when we are trying to do something else online.  Perhaps the technology will develop to the point of self-destruction, destroying Google’s business model.

At any rate, just remember that Google is watching you.  And not only when you are online.

UPDATE:  This article explains more.  It says that Google already has access to 70% of all U.S. credit and debit card transactions!  This is “through partnerships with other companies that track that data.”  How can that be allowed?

[Read more…]

Top 10 Google searches of 2016

cyborg-438398_640The internet contains unfathomable amounts of information.  Search engines allow us to find anything we want to know, giving us access to knowledge on an unprecedented scale, thus advancing the capabilities of the human mind.

When we can fully connect our minds to the internet, we can attain the next level of human evolution.

So see what the year’s top searches on Google were. [Read more…]

Music composed by artificial intelligence

Google engineers are trying to see if Artificial Intelligence can generate works of art, thus morphing into Artificial Creativity.  The company’s Project Magenta is working on algorithms that would allow computers to compose music.  See Can machines make music? Google tests creative boundaries of AI. – CSMonitor.com.  

The first composition has been released.  It consists of only four notes.  (The drums are human additions.)  Hear it after the jump.

Then discuss:  Do you think machines with Artificial Intelligence will be able to create art?  What’s the difference between the Artificial Intelligence of a machine and the Actual Intelligence of a human being? What else is needed to create a work of art besides “intelligence”?  Can machines ever have those things?
[Read more…]

Could Google steal the election?

Research shows that whether favorable or unfavorable articles show up on search engines–and the order of those articles–influences the way people vote.  So, conceivably, Google–or, rather, the search algorithm that Google uses–could determine the election.  So warns Wired Magazine. [Read more…]

Should we have the right to be forgotten?

As we blogged about last year, the highest court of the European Union ruled that Google must implement “the right to be forgotten,” requiring the search engine to strike out embarrassing about individuals upon their request.  There is now a movement to bring that right to the United States.

Read about it after the jump.  Would this be a blow for internet privacy?  Or an effort to censor the internet?  Would it be a salutary method of covering up old mistakes?  Or an attempt to remake history by implementing an Orwellian “memory hole”? [Read more…]

Google is investing in letting us live for 500 years

Google is putting some of its gazillions of dollars into a venture capital fund.  Its goal is to fund research that will let us live for 500 years. [Read more…]