GM Patents Minority Report-Style Billboards

By David Wharton | 9 years ago

One of the more memorable bits of futurism from Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report was the individualized advertising. As you made your way down the street, ads positioned on the surrounding walls would read your retinal pattern and shout product pitches at you by name. “Hi there, Frank McGilicutty, how about another trip to Maui this summer?” Or, “Say, Finwick Armbrooster, have you tried Valtrex?” It was a sharp satire of ad culture and an entirely too believable guess at what the future might hold. And now, the future is here…sort of. Jalopnik reports that GM has filed a patent for billboards that will offer up personalized advertising to drivers.

Thankfully, it’s not nearly as invasive or unsettling as Minority Report‘s tech. Instead GM will be using its OnStar navigation service to provide only the destination you’ve entered into the GPS to target specific ads at you via the billboards. So you might see an ad for businesses near your destination, or related to it in some way. No doubt anticipating the hue and cry over privacy concerns, GM also explains that the information will immediately be deleted from the server. It’ll still likely make those who like to stay off the grid nervous, but such is the price of living in our increasingly invasive culture.

So far Minority Report is racking up a pretty impressive batting average when it comes forecasting future technology. Aside from these billboards, the government is already working on pre-crime tech of a sort, and the motion-detecting computer interface is basically Kinect with a few more bells and whistles. Then again, it’s only appropriate that a movie about predicting the future would get a few things right…