Just before the Olympics in 2012, a company in England named Renew installed one hundred recycling bins across London. These bins came with digital screens that would play advertisements to the people walking by them. A neat idea, using something everyone is going to use and probably look at for at least a moment to advertise products. The city itself was even able to advertise and purchase ad space on the recycling bins. Recently, however, these recycling bins have gotten an upgrade. And this upgrade may be a bit more intrusive than simply placing an ad on the side of a trash bin.

Everyone who uses the internet knows just how unnerving it is when you try and Google something and then only a few minutes later the ads on the side of websites you’re on are advertising just that product. Sometimes, you don’t even have to Google the exact term and through the sites you have visited and certain things you have clicked on, a blueprint of your web habits will be created. From there, you will be introduced to a whole wealth of products that advertisers are convinced you just cannot do without. Well how about combining that idea with these trash receptacles that have digital screens on them?

The new model of recycling bin that Renew has introduced can do just that. By using the identification number on a user’s phone, they are able to provide ads on the recycling bins as you walk by them. It can monitor if you use this route every day and even how fast you are walking. The CEO of Renew has stated the following in regard to peoples’ reservations about the technology: “From our point of view, it’s open to everybody, everyone can buy that data,” Memari told Quartz. ”London is the most heavily surveillanced city in the world…As long as we don’t add a name and home address, it’s legal.”

Some people may find this technology awesome, some may find it way too close to their science fiction nightmares. Many have used the example from Minority Report where these advertisements read your eyes and give you a personalized ad that only you can see. So if that is the next step, consider my trips to London to be nonexistent in the future. Renew is currently trying to sell the technology to retailers so, for example, if you are in a shopping mall, it can track which stores you go into. Or if you are in a restaurant and there are multiple units in place, it will know if you prefer to eat at the bar, only stay for a few drinks, or spend your nights in the same place. The wave of the future? Or just one step closer to the eerie science-fiction dystopia so many have written of already?

Story Via Quartz
Pic Via Paweł Zdziarski