Panning for Nuggets

“Advertising is the art of arresting the human intelligence just long enough to get money from it.”

I realize this is barely a nugget, but it stuck out to me in an eye-opening kind of way. This entire time I’ve been thinking of the future of technology as beneficial, even something that could possibly ‘augment human intellect.’ Never had I thought (at least not in the context of advertising) that the advancement of certain technology could hinder our intellect. Advertisements on Pandora are not something that benefit us, though, and probably will not in the future either. They benefit various companies. As I’m listening to my music on Pandora, my gaze suddenly becomes interrupted by a minute or so of advertising. I’m now captured by these companies tactics and my intelligence is caught by their endorsements. If it works enough, that company will have my business. And either way, Pandora makes money just from me listening.

person-eating-in-front-of-tv

“Social media companies are legitimate advertising websites, no different than, say, Google or Yahoo. The same way Google made its money is the same way Twitter and Facebook will make their money.”

This passage is not much longer than the first, but it is from a similar source that I tagged with #advertisements and #advertising like the other. The way Google, Yahoo, Twitter, and Facebook are advertising websites is almost the same way that Pandora is. Sure, Pandora makes some of its money off of membership fees, but advertising is the bigger part of their success. My first nugget suggests that advertising arrests human intellect, and seeing that these websites are advertising websites, it would make sense that they would also arrest human intellect. Well, this makes sense to me at first; Facebook and Twitter are typically for entertainment, not intellectual augmentation. But Google and Yahoo can be informative, right? And in the case of this course, Twitter is being used as a learning tool as well. So is my first nugget technically correct? Is advertising really arresting our intellect? Or, are we ignoring the advertisements on these sites long enough that we benefit from its information more? I would say this is the case with Google, Yahoo, Twitter, and Facebook, but it is almost impossible to ignore the advertisements on Pandora. If both of these passages are true, then it seems logical to conclude that Pandora, or at least the minute per hour of advertising hinders our intellect. I now have a very different outlook on the future of Pandora and similar technology.

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