This Driverless Ride will Include a Stop at……

The Atlantic posits something that should seem obvious but something that needs to be considered in light of current models. Many are discussing the idea of an autonomous Uber fleet evolving to a subscription based driverless car service but this article posits that you can get that free ride in an autonomous vehicle as long as you include a stop at this store that fits your shopping profile on the way. These microtargeted stops would have a lot more marketing traction than a banner ad or a typical poster. Will a two tier service emerge, including a high end subscription service and another that stops at every Starbucks on the way?

Of Micropayments and Walking Simulators: Economics and Zen in Gaming

I am fond of saying that eventually we will be micropaymented to death. To Netflix, $9.99. To Hulu, $11.99. To Amazon $100 a year. To Google Play Music, $15 a month. Soon it all turns into the scene from Black Mirror’s 15 Million Merits where the toothpaste dispenser takes micropayments per cc of toothpaste.

At Intelligent Economist, there is an interesting article on how mobile games have brought about bad games, because the money isn’t found in the selling in the games but making the impossible parts of it possible if you buy a weapon or the in-game currency to get such things. As the economic questions of many markets are disrupted and they begin to land in these micropayment systems, what happens to art when the economics say leave people wanting the good stuff until they pay for the upgrades.

But on the other side there is a great article at Salon about “walking simulator” games. These are games that aren’t filled with action or repetition and have storyline and archs. While a large chunk of the gaming world are worried about how to turn game churn into a profit center, indie gamers are creating art. These games are redefining the narrative, immersive art and games themselves into an art for future generations.

Reply All Podcast Takes a Look at Facebook Advertising Algorithms

Magnifying Glass

The continuously excellent Reply All podcast starts with the question of if Facebook uses your phone mic as a source of advertising information and digs through the way Facebook advertising aggregates and processes data. They at least scratch the surface enough to know it will be hard to gauge how deep it goes.

If you aren’t listening, there are too many good episodes to list here. Just start with the recent two-parter, a gonzo investigation Indian computer tech support scams. Part One. Part Two.