There was a time when the toy industry got their ideas from the military industrial complex. “Hey let’s play war!” Now it might be the other way around - enter stage left Microsoft’s Kinect. This is a game that uses image recognition soft ware to connect you to the game, no more troublesome controllers like with Wii. This system can recognize individuals that pass in front of it and react appropriately.
Last week at a developers' conference, a Microsoft VP said the image recognition capabilities of the Kinect provided, “…an interesting opportunity to target content to specific users”. And if you don't speak Microsoft, "interesting" is their word for terrifying.
One thing it can be used for is that law enforcement won’t have to bother with those pesky search warrants or wire tap permits they just send a game system to a suspect or someone on the “watch list”. “Is that a boulibase, meth or nitro he is cooking?”
But for you and me - it might see you in your living room, wearing a New York Giants T-shirt, and it will send you an ad for more Giants stuff. It might see you eating an entire bag of Doritos and send you an ad for sweatpants.
After some outcry about the VP's remarks, Microsoft said it would never use the Kinect, ever, to violate anyone's privacy - in a carefully worded statement it sent to everyone it saw reading the VP's remarks on their computers.
Soon there will be nowhere you can go where you're not spied and peeked and prodded and patted.
The interesting opportunity there for the Kinect is to invent a game like Sim TSA.