Two signs of things to come – body hacking and targeted advertising

I am going through a period of blue sky thinking as I look for new areas in which to focus our investment efforts, and the great thing about that is I get to look at and play with a lot of cool stuff.

I’m also short on time today because my week so far has been two full days strategising on Monday and Tuesday with my partners at DFJ Esprit, and two board meetings today, followed by a discussion class at London Business School this evening, and I need to finish today’s blog post before my next board starts in fifteen minutes.

So I’m going to share two cool things I read about this morning.

First, check out this video. We now have a man alive who doesn’t have a pulse. By many definitions that makes him dead. He lives without a pulse because his heart has been replaced with two pumps that operate with permanent flow rather than a beat. This is an amazing body hack a) because it replaces one of our weakest links, the heart, and b) because it does so with an alternative process, flow rather than beat. There is a lot of potential and benefit to this, not least because regular flow puts a lot less stress on the rest of the body than the surge and stop that comes with a beat.

Heart Stop Beating | Jeremiah Zagar from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

Second – read this Techcrunch report on a London based bus shelter advertising campaign that identifies passers by as either men or women and targets the ad accordingly. Techcrunch sums up the potential for this well:

But think about the possibilities if you aren’t using some sensitive information as your content arbiter. What if you load up a hundred videos of people in different outfits, and then match that to whatever the person viewing the ad is wearing? “Nice red blazer. But we like this one better. Only $25 at H&M.” Or perhaps an advertisement aimed at people with children or holding babies.

I’m sure many of you are thinking that this is creepy, and if I’m right then advertisers will have to be careful, but I’m excited about the potential for this type of technology because it makes advertising more effective which in essence creates money out of nothing.

  • brisbourne

    Hi Sev – you raise some great questions. If you are interested in reading more on this topic take a look at Ray Kurzweil’s book “The Singularity is Near”, or look at the Singularity Hub website.
    My belief, and I think belief is the right term, is that our mind is distinct from our physical bodies and could theoretically be moved to a different host. If that happened to me, I would still be ‘myself’, just with different physical form. Whether I would be ‘human’ or not after that is to me somewhat of a second order question. I don’t think it really matters. The most important thing is what we do and say, not our physical manifestation.
    There are many who would disagree with this position though.