GM Files Patent To Make ‘MINORITY REPORT’ Billboards Real. Sort Of.

Our boots crunch as we step on the souls of previously held impossibilities! Like all those wonky ads in Minority Report, and how they were outlandish and ridiculous. Custom-designed for each person? Pah! And yet, here we are.


At the moment, view this new GM patent as a possible step on the road to the future seen in Minority Report. In that future, your biometric data is accessed (via retinal scan) to serve up ads based on past preferences (i.e., being an American Express card holder for seven years or where you went on vacation or your latest watch purchase).

Here, it appears that GM (and its OnStar service) isn’t allowed to – thanks to Onstar’s own Terms of Service – use anything other than the destination you just input into your vehicle (along with external, randomized databases such as a seasonal driving pattern calendar based on all American drivers and information on the destination itself and why someone might be driving there) to serve up an ad. That data, we’re told, is then deleted from the ad server and only an anonymized record that an OnStar user (no tracking of which OnStar user) made a request for that destination point is left on OnStar’s servers.

In fact, your credit card companies now keep – and use to serve ads and services to you – more than GM and OnStar keep on file with a much more potentially abusive technology. If anything, credit card companies should be looking to GM and OnStar for the right way to use personal data rather than the credit score-mining they’ve become known for.

For some reason I actually find the car knowing where I am going and transmitting it  (more than it already does, I know, I know) far creepier than it tailoring the ads based on my credit purchases…or something. Who the fuck knows. We’re bound to the grid. S’all there is to it.