Monday, June 21, 2010

Damn Algorithms

I'm told you can never get rid of termites permanently. You can tent the house. Pump in the poisons. And forget about them for a a few years. But you can always count on their return.

Like Laker championships, sig alerts and cab-burning vandals, it's just one of those things that go with living in Southern California.

So two weeks ago I went online to seek out a pest control company to pay us a visit and take care of my returning termites. I found an excellent company in Culver City, who surprisingly told me the house only needed some localized spot treatments.

Within minutes of my initial search, I also found myself bombarded with web banner ads from Orkin.

Like 99.99% of Americans I tune these obnoxious web banners out. ( I know marketing gurus believe digital advertising, with its banners, robust web sites and client-sponsored social media, is going to be the industry's silver bullet, but frankly I don't buy it. I'm not interested in an engaging brand relationship with El Pollo Loco. Just put the damn chicken in the bag and let me get the hell out of there.)

But these insidious Orkin banner ads are a different story. They are impossible to ignore. And not in a good way. Every time they come on, hundreds of animated cockroaches scurry across my computer monitor. And I can't get rid of them. I need a virtual pest control company to fumigate these virtual pests.

And it's all because of algorithms. Had I not been so stoned throughout my college career I might be able to render a more accurate definition of algorithms, but I can't. I only know that every time you make a keystroke, that data is run through a series of html confibulated flik flaks and uploaded onto satellite-based gyroscopic servers for optimized management administration.

In other words, based on my search entries, the computer shows me ads for stuff it thinks I'm looking for. Maybe I can use those same algorithms to fool Big Brother. I'm going to pay a little visit to Victoria's Secret. Even though my wife forbids me from buying her lingerie, the computer doesn't know that.

No comments: