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Faces Faces Everywhere: weird normalcy

Face ID making surveillance normal and Personalized Billboards making targeted ads weird? Weird Normalcy commentary.

Published onOct 08, 2019
Faces Faces Everywhere: weird normalcy

Weird Normalcy and Normal Weirdness:

1. Face ID: (Weird -> Normal)

The idea of mass surveillance and constant facial recognition is widely accepted as being outside our normalcy field. As a few countries start rolling out social credit systems with facial recognition, many apple users were excited about unlocking their phones with their face. It is so interesting how the context of presenting a technology as a feature where the user is in control can make the weird so easy to accept.

Face ID as a social credit system: (Weird?)

Face ID as a feature on Apple: (Normal?)

2. Advertising (Billboards and Digital) (Normal -> Weird)

Neon lights and Flashing images fight for our attention economy out on the streets and on our online ecosystems. More recently our eyes and attention are getting better at ignoring the large proportion of advertising information and just focus on the tiny bit of relevant information in our surroundings. This ignoring of 90% has become part of our normalcy field. Advertising firms compete to come up with new ways of fooling our ever-adapting attention spans quiet successfully.

The physical billboards are still not personalized to each individual. Minority report showed a version with large scale eye-tracking which enabled personalized billboards calling out your name. That kind of blatant targeted marketing immediately throws the concept outside my normalcy field. Though digital marketing could do the same (having access to all our cookies/signatures), they try not to peel back the curtain. Targeted ads are presented to our unique needs while pretending to not be prying on us. Perhaps in the world where constant eye-tracking has been accepted into the norm, personalization of experience is also within this normalcy field.

Targeted billboard by identifying make of your car

I can imagine physical billboards where in addition to just calling out your name, it will replace the model with an image of you in the clothes/shoes/house that they are selling.

future personalized marketing from BlackMirror’s Nosedive

Once this norm is accepted into the normalcy field, it will become even harder to ignore or blockout.

Physical firewalls in our eye pieces might work hard at trying to blank out these billboards from our vision and ear pieces will have to filter out our names screaming for our attention from every screen.

3. Cars that honk inside other Cars: (Normal -> Weird)

In India we have a huge traffic problem. This traffic problem has led to a really loud noisy culture around driving and horns. Basically there is a constant drone of honking from every direction. When the traffic lights turn from red to green, people are ready to blow their horns in an instant to scream out to the person driving in front of them.

In a way this is similar to the screaming and trolling on the internet, where a large scale of voices are given a platform and an easy way to publish (or in our case honk).

This is accepted as the norm in India and pedestrians and houses next to the busy streets just assume this constant noise as a part of their normal background.

Making it weird:

What if when a car decides to honk, it only blows the honk inside the neighboring cars on the stereo. This would perhaps be an immediate nuisance as every driver would be exposed to the screeching horror of constant honking. But that might lead to the weirdness of this honking noise pollution to become immediately visceral. This might in turn lead to lesser traffic noise. People might be more courteous and honk only when necessary. The archaic idea of honking can also be replaced by more meaningful messages like “Coming on your right”, “Please move” etc. This more sophisticated language of car honking would definitely need to be standardized and moderated.

Would that lead to a more courteous traffic noise level or just sink into utter chaos? One thing is for sure, the normal has definitely been “Weirded”.

Dan Novy:

Honking only on the INSIDE! I love it!