Don’t panic, but companies are harvesting data straight from your brain

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Imagine if corporations could wire advertisements straight into your brain. They’d probably ping you with a soap commercial right when you were in the middle of taking a shower and ask you to pay twenty bucks a month for an ad-free showering experience. Except once you paid, the experience wouldn’t actually be ad-free, because the deal’ would only be valid for selected brands.

It’s hard not to worry about a future like that sometimes. But you don’t need to worry—because in a sense, that future is already here.

In 2002, an advertising firm called BrightHouse issued a press release saying that one of their groups, BrightHouse Neurostrategies, would start using brain scans, based on MRI technology, to study potential buyers as part of their marketing research. As you can imagine, the concept was not well-received and the firm ended up having to pull its website. BrightHouse continues to function as a marketing consultancy, and for the most part, the whole idea was more or less ignored for some time.

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