Amazon has had amazing success marketing the kindle reader online. The e-reader technology is having as profound an effect on the book publishing industry, the likes of which have not been seen since the invention of the printing press. This technology will force a paradigm shift in the publishing industry. Authors will more and more often self publish, and either sell to customers directly through their own sites, or through large concerns like Amazon, Barnes and Noble Online, or through the Apple Store to name a few.

Well so much for speculations about the publishing business. What is a bit concerning though is just how much Amazon is gleaning about you from their kindle e-reader.  Did you know that everything that you purchase is used to help recommend other purchases to you? Likely you did. Did you know that Amazon tracks everything that you read, to see how much a book engages you, and how far into the book you are? Probably you do not. The creepy thing is that they also track anything that you highlight as well. Did you know that they share this with publishers so they not only know what is popular, but why it is popular? Getting scary now isn't it?

Welcome to the true electronic age.

Media has been tossing around the phrase electronic age for about 20 years now, but it is only more recently that we are seeing the types of privacy intrusions that were discussed by George Orwell in his book nineteen eighty four. It would seem that our society was a bit slow in living down to George's low expectations of us.

So what are the companies doing with all of this information that they are gathering and sharing about us?

Much of the publishing company's usage of this data is in the predicting of plots that will sell well. They are able to use the names of several well-known writers who are past their prime, and publish under their name using ghost-writers. And the information is also used for verifying that the resulting story lines are consistent with the original material as well. Imagine how much better the Star Trek series would have been with such information at their disposal. What  do you think could they do with niche authors like Nora Roberts, John Grisham, or Sue Grafton?

So take it a step further. Why have a real author at all? Why not have an author team and create an artificial persona to front them. They can manufacture a name, promote them, give them a web presence on Facebook and Twitter, have a flashy web site with a photoshop edited picture of someone. They could play up the fact that the author has agoraphobia and will not appear in public. If you back these fictitious people up with a team of ghostwriters knocking off stories that will appeal to the masses and you have a good start. Then you get teams of people to answer their electronic mail and snail mail. Faced with this, most people would just assume there is a living, breathing person that belongs to the name. This can very plausibly be the future of the publishing industry!

There is at least one other industry that will likely apply this type of data and similar, if not even more aggressive tactics. That industry is Web Dating Services!

Microsoft is doing some interesting work with their xbox gaming system to respond to voice to movement of people. Apple's deployment of SIRI in a big way is also likely to shape a lot of near future technology.  This voice technology is critical in mobile devices where the keyboard interfaces are just too cramped or inconvenient for most people to use effectively. But it will likely also be deployed on regular computers as well.  The really interesting part will be when voice, gesture and face recognition technology is widely employed in other regular home appliances and vehicles.

What if these gesture recognition, face recognition, interactive voice and video technologies were combined? What if your computer could greet you as you enter the room? Be able to tell if you are tired, or angry, or sad? What could it do to lift your spirits?

Almost every dating site on the Internet has some form of contact initiation mechanisms where they entice people to respond. Part of this is to get them out of the habit of being lurkers, but mostly it is to coax people into signing up or upgrading to a paid membership. When the people reply to these opening gambits, they have teams of people responding to them, keeping them engaged on the dating site so they can make more money from you.  So that hot chick that seems to be so enamored with you seems too good to be true, and probably is. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch, and dating sites have to make money to stay in operation. It is not all fake, but some of it is.

Although this may seem entirely duplicitous, it does indeed serve a purpose for their customers. It takes a while to find the perfect match. Many people discourage easily, and others will just lurk and never venture to contact anybody. These systems tend to solve both of those problems. By keeping you entertained in the mean time, you keep coming back to the site. By getting you into the habit of communicating, you will be better able to communicate effectively with the right person when they finally come along.

Likely the next step for the dating industry would be to manufacture ideal profiles for you based on what you are looking for. You say you are looking for a blonde-haired, five foot ten woman, with a PHD in parapsychology – funny you should ask, we have a bunch that just recently joined. And to make you less suspicious, lets just backdate the join dates of your perfect matches randomly. From the time you finish telling them what you are looking for until the time you log in, they can create a selection of ideal matches for you who just happen to be looking for all the things that you offer.

What might the next step be? In a few years, it will be possible to actually have a computer-based simulacrum that will be able to hold an interactive chat with someone. Even now, research into artificial intelligence has computer programs that can interact with people well enough that most people will think that they are talking to a real person. The media seems to be enchanted with walking and dancing robots right now, but the true breakthroughs will have to be on the intelligence side of the equation for anything to be practical.  At the present time, nobody has invented a computer based mechanism that is capable of independent thought.

From your perspective, if you are on a dating site and you are interacting with someone who seems too good to be true, then just try to initiate a live video chat session with them. If they are never available, or if they have 'technical problems' with their computer, then it is really suspicious. If you can never get them to video chat, then move on. They are either fake, or else they are lying about something that you would see as soon as you see their face. Maybe your hot cutie is a 60 year old guy who gets off on weird things.

So although it may be possible at some point in the future for dating sites to manufacture a playmate for you to chat with, that is not currently possible.  In the mean time, a video chat test will pretty much allow you to rule out any shenanigans on their part.

After all that negative information, there is still an intelligent way to use Online Dating Sites. If you are a man, to minimize the artificial contacts, just upgrade to a paying membership as soon as you join. That will pretty much ensure that you ware always interacting with real people. For women, join a site you do not have to pay at but men do. These sites never annoy women with fake profiles. Some words of caution though, stay clear of sites where men do not have to pay. These sites tend to have some really low life guys hanging around on them. If they cannot afford to pay for a membership, how good of a provider will they be. Join a site where men have to pay. It is in your best interest.

Hopefully this all helps you understand the more negative side of online dating sites. Online dating sites are still a good place to meet someone. Just keep your wits about you when you join one.  And to get a good listing of online dating sites, click on the link below:

Top 100 Dating Sites

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    My name is Clarissa, I am the writer of this blog. I am happily married and the mother of 2. I enjoy horse back riding, writing ,cooking and spending time with my family. I hope you enjoy your visit to my site.


    November 2012