For whatever reason, I have awesome dreams.
True story: I dreamed about the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake two days before it actually happened. Now, I’m not telling you this because I want you to believe that I have special powers. You know better. Plus, any self-respecting cynic could have predicted that earthquake.
All I’m saying is that I have really cool dreams, that’s all.
Anyway, last night I had a dream that I was on my elliptical trainer in my basement, watching the news on TV. And the TV anchor was a computer generated avatar that looked like a real person. In fact, I couldn’t tell he was fake just by looking at him. But I knew he was fake because that sort of thing was common at the time of my dream — whenever that was.
So I’m watching the news, and the anchor is using my name, as in "Good evening, Harry. Here’s what’s going on in your world today …". And he starts telling me about my daughters and what they are browsing on the web: "[my oldest daughter] spent 45 minutes on iTunes, reading the latest listener reviews of the new Wilco release. She later Tumbled about it, and her post was Tweeted by her friends Kylie and Maris."
The avatar continued … "… but I’d keep an eye on [my other daughter], who continues to exchange emails with Ryan, the boy from her homeroom class whose grades have fallen sharply since his father started that new job requiring him to travel to South America …" Etc. Etc.
And there was a predictive element to all of this too, with the anchor saying things like "Harry, please call Jim Duffy, your mortgage broker, for advice on refinancing your home if interest rates increase beyond X%. The southeastern mortgage market is a little sloppy now, but it could reach a five year high by next spring when your arm adjusts. Jim’s number is 404-555-1514. I have sent him an email to pull your file. Ask him about the market on 15-year Jumbos. You can afford it — and the increased interest deduction would offset higher taxes on your growing business."
Have your avatar call my avatar …
"In personal health news — your prescription for Lipitor is almost out. Harry, please ask your doctor about switching to the larger tabs, which when broken in half will allow you to reduce your monthly premiums by $X. Push YES on your TV’s remote control if you would like us to send him an email about this."
The Ultimate Multichannel Experience
The punch line of the dream is that Google had bought into the cable networks and was mining all of my family’s banking, insurance, shopping, medical, career testing, academic, web surfing, phone calling, TV watching, and emailing habits — and packaging them in a special customized, personalized, subscription-based newscast and life coaching program for me to watch on demand. (I guess it’s not evil if you’re paying for it. Like cigarettes, maybe. Or worse.)
It’s a blessing and a curse to be a kid today. My son’s public school has an extranet that allows parents to log on and check his grades in real time. Seriously. He can’t go to the bathroom there without us knowing about it. Yet he’s doing very well in school because we don’t allow him to slide too far down the slope of mediocrity. The school’s administrators have partnered with the kids’ parents, I guess, because "it takes a village …"
Oh well. In sales management and in parenting: "People don’t do what you expect. They do what you inspect."
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