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Personalisation is Asymmetric Psychological Warfare

Linked by Paul Ciano on August 6, 2018

Terence Eden:

An airline wants its cabin crew to know your birthday and favourite drinks order, to better personalise its service to you.

My first instinct is to recoil in horror. It sounds like every dystopian sci-fi epic.

But why do I feel this way? Partly it is the lack of genuine personality behind the interaction. It is the Uncanny Valley of sincerity. When Facebook wishes you happy birthday, it is a purely mechanical response - not an outpouring of genuine feeling.

There’s also the issue of why they do this. At a base level, it is money. They want you to feel a positive association with their “brand” so that you will spend money with them.

They are hijacking your emotions. Nothing new here…

But in the airline example, there is a sinister asymmetry. They know everything about you - and you know nothing about them.

Let’s correct that.

Paul Ciano

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