I had dinner night before last with a visionary technologist who has done some amazing things over the last 20 years, things that have impacted the way we live now.
We met at Spinasse, and just so happened to be seated next to a party that included the Foursquare Mayor of the place. (I know this because a person in her party confronted me with my picture on her iPhone, after I checked in.)
At any rate, over a bottle of barbaresco, we talked about the President's non-response to the Gulf oil crisis, our children, the new project he's involved in (top secret), and my prediction of "the end of advertising
I admitted the flaws in my theory, as put to me last week by my youngest son. "Dad," he told me, "they're not advertising to make you aware that they're there and break through the clutter, they're marketing to condition you to want something you wouldn't otherwise need."
My dinner companion agreed with that, but allowed I might nevertheless lay out my argument in terms of relative inefficiencies in the availablity and exchange of information, and how the mitigation or elimination of those inefficiencies deprive advertising of the conditions in which it has (a modicum of) social utility.
Were accurate, timely, relevant information so ubiquitous you wouldn't bother even to google it to get it, no one would tolerate, or even notice, sponsored messages. Twitter was the experiment that was beginning to illustrate how that might work, even if recent news suggests they will sell themselves short and sign up to further perpetuate (if only briefly) advertising, that antiquated business model of the 20th century.
My dinner companion said I was off 15, perhaps 20, years into the future. (Arguably good news, for some of my clients.) Moreover, he said my vision was dependent upon development of a "mind interface," such that there would be no latency between matching the thoughts one had with the information at hand.
We then turned to imagining the privacy brouhaha there would be were a network to begin publishing the thoughts of the networked minds. It would make what Facebook's doing now seem trivial!