Thursday, July 17, 2008

Markets Need Morals - Cultivating Anomie?

Why don't we all just give up? And only take interest in things that reward visceral influences? After all there are many meaningless, or negative, things in the world? Should we all just get drunk, and watch something pointless?

Firefox (and Microsoft) both went to some lengths to program in 'animations' in graphics - so that advertisers can distract you with motion, even if you would rather not look at their adverts. Learning to ignore signals, from what is a fundamental system to avoid risks (and so help survival), may not be helpful.

Amazon takes money to convince me I need eye surgery (and they claim they cannot block the adverts, although they are targeted at me personally). Facebook seems to think cosmetic surgery is what I need most (or, more likely, generates the most revenue). Google (via Adsense) thinks it would be optimal if I bought a vehicle that does 13 miles per gallon (5.5 km/litre; 18 litres/100km), costing around USD40,000. Do these things really make anyone happier? Or, the world a better place?

To what ends do they use beguiling images, sounds, or words?

Keywords: advertising; anomie; animated graphics; Firefox; cosmetic surgery