An August 4th, 2012 Mashable post describes Saga - an app that keeps track of where you are, how you got there, who you’re with — and then suggests places you should visit or things you might like to do (i.e., buy) based on your previous choices.
To some, Saga will sound like a huge invasion of privacy. If you're worried about Big Brother - or how your life data might be exploited by marketers - you don't need to download Saga.
To others, the benefits of having an app that collects data about your life and makes recommendations, without you having to check in, will outweigh the potential cost.
The developers of Saga promise that the data they collect about you will not be shared. We'll see. (And what about other competing versions of this technology?)
With that acknowledged threat to privacy - why am I still interested in Saga?
I see the entertainment options that might become possible. I realize there are risks to privacy - but I'd be willing to share more information about myself (e.g., the public choices I already make every day) in return for the promise of an enhanced entertainment experience (e.g., motion picture recommendations that are location or theme aware, nearby theaters in an unfamiliar town, etc.) - provided I can turn the data collection and recommendations off.
For me, Saga represents another step toward what I see as the inevitable New World of more personalized entertainment experiences. For me, the Netflix recommendations system has been a good thing. And I always check user recommendations when I buy stuff online. So I accept that other recommendation systems will evolve. If Saga has figured out a way to use my personal preferences and experiences - while maintaining my privacy - to provide a useful service to me (one that enhances entertainment), I'm in.
Yes, this sort of technology will be abused by some marketers. And, like many of you, I remember a time when I could move about the world essentially unobserved - making all of my purchases for cash.
Those days are gone.
And, there is no question, my entertainment and shopping experiences have been enhanced since the 1960s.
Yes, at first Saga might seem eerily aware and perhaps intrusive. But one thing we've learned in this New World - where almost every activity leaves digital footprints - is that, although it's almost impossible to cover our tracks, the messages that subsequently will flow our way online can still (for the most part) be avoided. But that does require something many of us will never do - turning the device(s) off.