From a New York Times article today on technology to track shoppers’ movements in stores through their cell phones:
Synqera, a start-up in St. Petersburg, Russia, is selling software for checkout devices or computers that tailors marketing messages to a customerâ€™s gender, age and mood, measured by facial recognition.
“If you are an angry man of 30, and it is Friday evening, it may offer you a bottle of whiskey,” said Ekaterina Savchenko, the companyâ€™s head of marketing.
Can someone say “negative externality”?
[As a preemptive answer to libertarian commenters: no, I don’t think the law should prevent this man from buying whiskey. But I do think there’s a moral case to be made for retailers not tripping over themselves to offer him some at maximum speed before he’s even asked for it. And I believe contemporary capitalists to be very bad at thinking about things like this.]