Ads are a necessary evil on this, your Internet. All of the hot content that you so desperately crave costs money to produce (if I wasn't getting paid, I'd be pursuing my first love: guessing people's weight on the street), and ads are one of the few effective ways Internet companies have found for generating revenue.
Because you jackals don't like paying for anything.
But that doesn't mean ads are loved; the "evil" part of "necessary evil" is there for a reason. And every year they seem to evolve, get a little more scummy, a little more villainous. We've progressed from ads that promised you were the millionth user (you weren't), to ads that asked you to punch a monkey (the monkey was filled with poison), to ads that played sound (which is a war crime). Seeing as three data points make an ironclad, scientifically unimpeachable trend, this implies that the future is filled with unimaginable advertising horrors. To find out what despair awaits, I mounted a clock to the hood of my 1993 Astrovan, accelerated into the time beyond this one, and found the shocking truth.
7Ads For "Insurance"
Ads have long been able to use tracking cookies to read our browsing habits. They also know roughly where we are in the world -- it's how the government can warn us about hot singles in our area. And it's not too hard to imagine ads gaining access to information we post on social media. Or has that happened yet? I'm not sure. Is it a bad sign when you can't tell if you're in a dystopia?
When asked, experts say: RELAX AND KEEP ENJOYING THE CONTENT. ALWAYS ENJOY THE CONTENT.
With this information available, it doesn't take much imagination to envision a world where ads make thinly veiled threats to the things you hold dear. Property, possessions, loved ones. A big picture of your dog, with vague threats to his life printed in tidy, professional Helvetica.
"It would be a shame if Mr. Muffles caught on fire because you couldn't find two measly dollars a day
for Dog Fire insurance."
6Ads That Can Tell When You're Drunk
There are already simple games and apps that can guess how inebriated you are, and there wouldn't be much stopping a website from doing the same, tracking the sloppiness of your mouse movement, or misclick frequency, or number of times you type "you know what your problem is?" into a text field. And that's the kind of information that an advertiser would be very interested in.
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"Our product is terrible and expensive. Who exactly is our target demographic?"
"Good thinking! Now let's do some fucking cocaine."
You'd be there, minding your own business, gulping down content and red wine, when suddenly you'd find yourself bombarded with ads for aspirational items you can't really afford, or rehab programs, or elaborate gifts that would finally convince Debra to take you back.
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"ONE WEIRD TRICK THE GUY NAILING YOUR EX-WIFE DOESN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW."