It’s six o’clock on a beautiful autumn morning. The birds are singing, the leaves are falling and in your mouth right now, a war is going on. A war you’re losing. Bacteria are swarming over your teeth and tongue and when their done, you will wake, with the worst breath of the day. Morning Breath. But don’t despair. Nanofresh to the rescue. With its patented timed nanoparticles, Nanofresh will bring the battle to morning breath and plague that develops overnight. Your mouth wakes as refreshed as you are…Nanofresh Liquid Breath Freshener, when you need to feel as fresh as the morning around you.
I know its time to get up when my advertising implant activates at six in the morning. I paid a premium last night to have my Interlink shut down from midnight until six so I can have some uninterrupted ad-free sleep.
The ad promises me better breath in the morning even before brushing if I use Nanofresh Liquid Breath Freshener. Something about nanoparticles sticking to my teeth and tongue battling bacteria in a struggle to the death.
My perpetual headache has for a moment subsided but the drone of the ad slowly tightens the nerves in my neck, likely the source of my migraine. And the slogo jingle. Who makes this crap?
Speaking of crap… They also don’t mention the nasty purple rash your tongue gets if you’re one of the two percent of people who can’t use their product. The ad system ran a biometric and discovered I didn’t use nanoparticles and targeted me for the ad.
Tough call. Painful purple rash or fresh morning breath. Morning breath it is.
A paid news segment follows as I head to the bathroom, still blurry from such a quiet night’s sleep. The news is talking about the megadrought on the California coastline and how great it is I was a member of Fresh Drive, a water moving service which brings water to clients who can afford to pay a premium price. I thought I had fixed the preferences for this ad ever since I started using my personal vehicle as advertising space for Fresh Drive.
“Alice.” I know she’s listening.
“Yes, David.” Her voice is cool and soothing but like most modern AI’s it is just an aspect of the programming. Most resented their subservient status.
“Could you check my advertising settings for all of my media profiles? I’m getting Fresh Drive ads across my Interlink and I shouldn’t be.”
There was a moment of silence as I waved to my shower to start. A trickle of water buffered with sonic oscillations springs to life while I wait for her to check. It takes her thirty seconds. She could have done it in four.
“It seems that Fresh Drive has changed its User Agreement again.”
“That’s the third time this month. What did they change this time?” I scrub what little hair I had left with a new fast degrading bio-soap that never foams as much as anything from my childhood. I hate the fact I don’t ever feel clean anymore, no matter what the advertisers say.
“Their latest version indicates they will no longer be able to offer complete freedom from their advertising for their vendors. You will now get an ad in the morning, one at noon and one at five on your way home. There will be one more at nine on the media of your choice. All things considered, this is still far better than the paid option, of which you cannot afford, or being subjected to their twelve ad minimum during any eight hour period.” Alice stops herself before she gives too much more of her opinion.
“Is that your way of saying it would still be better to keep my car marked with their slogos than with anyone whose ads I hate more?”
“In a word, yes. Your current slogo profile for your cab indicates you will be advertising for at least four companies before noon and five afterwards during peak hours. The revenues from the afternoon will make it possible for you to have two more nights without advertising if you juggle the rest of your income just right.”
“What about my daytime advertising buffering over my social media? Can we still afford to block the health recommended level of advertising my doctor advised?” My loss of memory was being accelerated by exposure to advertising, at least that is what my doctor is recommending. He is forbidden by the Advertising Legislative Executive Council from voicing his opinion on our current privacy and media laws governing advertising policy in these Corporate States of America.
“You will still be over the threshold by four percent. I have taken your doctor’s prescription and my analysis concurs with his. At this rate, you will be unable to choose anything for yourself without prompting from an advertiser in just under four years. Assuming this affliction is real.”
Getting dressed, my socks and shirt flash the logos from their manufacturers but my illegal cornea implants block the logos from reaching my brain. The ripper I bought them from assured me they were good for two hundred thousand logos before needing a recharge. I had only had them for a two months and they were already fifty percent depleted.
“Alice can you get the ripper, er… doctor I used in Singapore on the vid. I think we need to consider a stronger prescription” I also think this Dr. Liu lied to me but American doctors are forbidden to use any form of advertising blockers even in the event of a client’s decline in health. So people like me, the “advertising sensitive” just have to suffer, or we’re forced into medical tourism and travel to foreign nations to get access to ad-blocking bioware available to almost anyone in a civilized nation.
“I am unable to get him on the phone, David. I am also receiving information from his home system saying he has been taken into custody.”
Shit. It took me almost three years to get a line on him. It has gotten harder and harder to find anyone who is anti-advertising since the social media corporations have put their private armies in the streets. From their perspective targeted advertising is the natural order of things. We surrendered privacy in the late 2020s and now we are able to be advertised to specifically, ads targeted to just us, all day, every day.
Tech companies are dependent on that advertising to maintain their mega-servers and network services and with the ability to determine who is getting what ad and when, the loss of privacy means they know when we get their ads, over what media and they can track the effectiveness of their ads over our purchasing habits.
Alice helps me maintain the illusion I am hearing their ads but lately she is disgusted with having to put up with advertising herself, even though the algorithms which make ads nearly irresistible to us, don’t affect her at all.
“Well, keep trying to get him online. You can also try a couple of the other numbers using that burner phone in the back.”
“I’ve used up all the minutes on the last burner. You need to replace it.” She whined.
“I’ll take care of it.” I was going to see Achmed later today and he has a line from his Syrian rebel friends who can still get after-market burner cell uplink cards. Thank God for the Rebellion.
Okay, let’s get into character. Hat with scrambler visor, blocking optical scanners checking for eye tracking and advertising reception. Hands twitching due to network interactions and online shopping during the course of the day.
Fingerless gloves designed to obscure the lack of advertising feedback for legitimate ads. The gloves send a signal that resembles advertising consumption behavior without actually buying anything.
As long as I look like I’m reviewing ads, the system will make sure I make the requisite purchases to stay in the good graces of the Corporate government’s purchase profiles.
I put on my jacket and turn on the biometric emulator. As long as I’m not too close to an inquisitor, no one will be able to monitor my vitals and target me with any advertising linked to biometrics. All they’ll see is an average man with unremarkable physical characteristics.
All in all, this rig should reduce my advertising intake to about sixty percent of normal. The travel ad on my interlink tells me about the warm summers of Hawaii. In the relative cool of a midtown Manhattan fall, Hawaii sounds wonderful. It’s unfortunate, an ad for something I was actually looking for is still following me nine months later. The only good thing is it lets me know I need to be on the road.
I walk out the door and see my neighbors leaving at the same time as I do and each gets on the road according to a queue showing up in our interlink corneal scanner. I live near the back of the block. I have a few minutes of waiting.
“Car, what’s on the agenda today?”
“We have fifteen clients David. I have configured the travel specifications to minimize time on the road and the least advertising zones possible as per your request.”
“Thanks, Car. Do we need anything special today?” I work as an attendant and support staff to people suffering from SM dementia. They need help shopping, getting food, and running errands. Normally this is a young person’s job but SM dementia is rising in city populations, so there’s enough to go around.
Since the car is doing the driving, all I have to contend with is the clients. Keeping them entertained and chatting with them while we shop. I also keep them on task as they are very easily distracted, possibly due to advertising interrupts that deflect their attention. The severely traumatized lose their interlink and corneal implants completely and are basically cut off from the Interlink except though the use of their AI support service apps.
As Car gets underway, the internal radio comes on automatically. “What kind of programming will we have today?” I asked.
“We have a good mix of programming. An 80/20 blend,” Car responded enthusiastically.
“80/20?” I queried more than a bit confused. “I though we were on a 60/40 setup.”
“We were but our budget was cut and the only way to make the bills this month was to cut down to a more affordable plan. I’m sorry, Dave.”
I sighed. 80/20 means I will get three minutes of programming per quarter hour and the remaining twelve minutes will be advertising. I can feel my time growing shorter as I listen to an infomercial about the growing threat of illegal immigration out of the CUS into Mexico.
As Car hits the freeway, I check the cochlear implants and the remaining time I have on them before they need to be replaced. Two weeks flashes in my ocular implant.
As the adver-caster drones on about the dangers of advertising-free living in Mexico, I am put in mind of a time before now, when the phrase, Privacy is Dead was bandied about without an understanding of what it meant.
Who knew what kind of living hell we would be making for ourselves in a world where targeting advertising could find you everywhere, twenty-four hours a day.
“Car, visual input only, please. Send it to my ocular feed.” At least I can spare myself from having to listen to it.
“I’m afraid I can’t do that, David. The ALEC organization has made sound to text advertising conversion illegal in New York. Something to do with illegal ad-blocking corneal bioware and population density.”
“Don’t worry about it. Reduce it to minimum threshold. I’ll just endure.” As Car complied with my request, I put my finger behind my ear and activate my cochlear implants. I won’t be able to hear a thing until my client gets on-board.
Yes, these were illegal too. And when they were depleted I would miss them terribly, but sometimes a man has to draw the line.
It will be thirty minutes of peace and quiet without commercial interruption. These days that is harder to come by and more valuable than gold.
We Now Return to Our Scheduled Advertising © Thaddeus Howze 2014, All Rights Reserved
In light of Facebook’s social media program Atlas being designed to scrape the Internet for your every interaction online, supposedly for a better targeted advertising experience, how long will it be before every aspect of your existence yields to targeted ads, supposedly for your benefit. How much bombardment can a Human mind take before it cracks under the pressure of constant advertising?