retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports on a new age vending machine in Tokyo:

“Inside the bustling Shinagawa train station here, a futuristic-looking vending machine has replaced rows of drink bottles and cans with a 47-inch touch-screen monitor. When a person stands in front of the screen, a camera captures his image and a sensor determines the person's gender and approximate age. Based on that reading, the machine ‘recommends’ drinks that fit the customer's profile.”

In other words, the vending machine is actually looking back at the customer, and “the idea is to transform billboards and the like into sophisticated marketing tools that identify and target a specific audience ... using facial-recognition technology that can determine how many people looked at a particular display, their gender and even their level of attentiveness.”
KC's View:
This is cool ... and a little bit scary. I won’t be a bit surprised to find out that these vending machines were all built by Cyberdyne Systems and are all linked together via Skynet, and that our troubles are just beginning.