The recent Beta launch of Facebook’s new Graph Search has renewed the ongoing discussion of internet privacy. If you’re unfamiliar with it, Facebook’s Graph Search will allow anyone to search Facebook for topics as specific as “Pictures of friends I went to high school with” or “Women in Minneapolis who like soccer”.
While this feature is new to the individual Facebook user, personal information such as your location, age, profession, interests, relationship status and sexual orientation have long been available to private companies who want to target you with Facebook advertisements. This information is gathered through your Facebook likes, Google searches, status updates and more.
Allowing companies access to so much personal information might seem a little creepy, but in the future it could benefit consumers by making the products we use better, cheaper, and more sustainable.
Allowing companies access to so much personal information might seem a little creepy, but in the future it could benefit consumers by making the products we use better, cheaper, and more sustainable. In the old days, marketers relied on so called “target marketing” to get products in the hands of consumers, which relied mostly on generalizations, assumptions and stereotypes. This poor understanding of a market’s needs often leads to over/underproduction.
The more information a company has about you, such as who you are, how to get a hold of you, and what you like and need, the easier it is for them to tailor fit their products to exactly what you want. This could eventually lead to almost all manufactured goods being custom made to order and ultimately eliminating over/underproduction for good. Eliminating overproduction saves companies money on things like materials, energy, storage space and shipping costs, allowing them to pass the savings down to customers. Less waste also means a cleaner environment. Eliminating underproduction means the products you need are available when you need them.
Imagine having affordable clothes made specifically for your body, or shoes made just for your feet. With 3D printing technology, this may soon be possible. With 3D printing, manufactures can make any three-dimensional shape from a 3D model using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes. Printed objects can be made from nearly any substance, including plastic, glass, human tissue, metal, sand and wood. They can build products faster and cheaper with less waste. 3D printers are already producing shoes, furniture, houses and soon even human organs!
So next time you see an ad on Facebook for a hot pink SPIbelt after doing a Google search for ‘hot pink SPIbelt’, remember that clueing-in companies on your needs and wants might actually make future products cheaper, higher quality, easier to obtain, more sustainable, and made just for you!Leave a Comment