British supermarket monster, Tesco, scanning shopper faces
The Amscreen technology will estimate age and sex for advertisers, tailoring ads at gas pumps at Tesco gas stations. Yup. Minority Report.
Lord Alan Sugar is the rough and tough East Ender who built Amstrad's consumer electronic business building cheap computers in the 80s. Lord Sugar is worth $1.14 billion and is kind of like a Donald Trump for the Brits. Same bombastic style. Not so much of a bouffant hairstyle, and not a birther, but he did once predict that the iPod would die within a year of its launch. He got that wrong. Totally wrong.
Lord Sugar's son, Simon, runs a company called Amscreen that builds digital signage. It is Amscreen's display technology that is being used by Tesco, the Brits version of a kind of Walmart, to check out customers.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the "OptimEyes" system will be rolled out into 450 Tesco gas stations. They will be exposed to millions of customers a week, and privacy advocates are up in arms.
Simon Sugar, Lord Sugar's son and Amscreen chief executive, told industry magazine The Grocer: "Yes it's like something out of Minority Report, but this could change the face of British retail and our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible."
Among the creep-outs of the OptimEyes technology: it lumps you into one of three age brackets based on gender. And, there is technology already available that can match people's faces to their Facebook profiles and create custom ads based on their Likes.
Amscreen had already installed its systems in other places around the UK, but the deal with Tesco is a huge win and rollout taking OptimEyes into the mainstream in more ways than one.
Yeah, it's all Minority Report on your ass. Suck it, people, you are going to be herded based on what you will buy when pummeled by ads. I'll take a wild guess that there will be no reaction whatsoever and we will all just go along with this intrusion because, if Tom Cruise hadn't jumped the couch, Minority Report would have been a pretty awesome movie.