Big Brother

Minority Report-like Billboards in the Works

The machines are getting smarter: The U.K.’s Telegraph is reporting that IBM researchers are developing technology that will enable digital advertisement screens to zero in on any given passerby and project custom ads reflective of that person's interests, à la the futuristic film Minority Report. These ad boards will scan RFID chips—wireless technology tags used in fare cards for the London Underground—that are embedded in people's cellphones and credit cards to project back to the consumer-personalized ads. "In Minority Report, the billboards recognize passersby and play adverts that are specific for the individual," said IBM researcher Brian Innes. "In the film, the billboards rely on scanning the person's eyeball, but we are using RFID technology that people are carrying around with them, so they can have a tailor-made message." IBM claims this technology will weed out ads irrelevant to each consumer's interests and taste.