Capitalism and Perceptual Spam
This picture brings to mind an idea over which I was musing when contemplating heads-up displays on upper-echelon cars. As Wikipedia notes,
Head-up displays are becoming increasingly available in production cars, and usually offer speedometer, tachometer, and navigation system displays. BMW, Nissan, Lexus, Citroën and GM currently offer some form of HUD system. Motorcycle helmet HUDs are also commercially available.I can only imagine that the technology will mature along the lines as have computer monitors. First you get green-screen like numerical information projected onto a windshield, but eventually colors will follow, and something akin to a transparent monitor will allow full color-depth, photo-quality displays. (Such "media windsheilds" are already under development.)
My idea is that what can be shown on a transparent windshield can be blocked on a transparent windshield. This would have two advantages. First, how many times am I driving home at the end of the day with the setting sun blasting my retinas to a crisp, even when protected by snappy sunglasses. By selectively polarizing or even blacking out a disk on the media windshield of equivalent size to the sun (as viewed from the driver's perspective), safer and easier driving conditions would immediately ensue.
Second, although the sun would be fairly easy to track, locate, and censor on a media windshield, I wouldn't want to stop there. I suppose an algorithm could be programed into media wind shields that detects large rectangles on the side of the road. If such rectangles could likewise be blocked, then I would have a very special class of rectangles blocked: roadside signs.
I consider such signs real-world spam - messages I didn't ask for, forced upon me by advertising I don't want to see. After all, billboards are either trivia gone hyper-sized, or highly uninvited spam on my perception. People are already committed to limiting spam in other electronic media contexts, but for some reason advertising in non-virtual space is tolerated. I don't see why this need be so, and when media wind shields come online, perhaps billboards will finally begin to disappear -- at least when we're in our cars.
[image] Sepultura "Ain't it the truth?" Flickr Uploaded Jan. 22, 2008. (Accessed 1/23/2008)