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Voice Catchers: What Your Body Can Say to Marketers Now and in the Future

Voice Catchers: What Your Body Can Say to Marketers Now and in the Future Online

Taking off from his recent book The Voice Catchers, Joseph Turow exposes how artificial intelligence is enabling personalized marketing and discrimination through voice profiling. Amazon and Google have numerous patents pertaining to messages about you that the sound of your voice allegedly conveys. Even now their smart speakers are extracting and using voice prints for identification and more. Customer service centers are already approaching every caller based on what they conclude a caller’s voice reveals about that person’s emotions, sentiments, and personality, often in real time. In fact, many scientists believe that a person’s weight, height, age, and race, not to mention any illnesses they may have, can also be identified from the sound of that individual’s voice.

Ultimately not only marketers, but also politicians and governments, may use voice profiling to infer personal characteristics for selfish interests and not for the benefit of a citizen or of society as a whole.  Looking ahead, voice profiling, even more than facial recognition, may be the technology that encourages companies to consider more biometric intrusions—from gait analysis to urinalysis and beyond—in their endless desire to personalize messages to potential customers.  Joseph Turow explains these developments and the democratic values that are at stake.

Joseph Turow is the Robert Lewis Shayon Professor of Media Systems & Industries at the Annenberg School for Communication. Turow is an elected Fellow of the International Communication Association and was presented with a Distinguished Scholar Award by the National Communication Association. In 2012, the TRUSTe internet privacy-management organization designated him a “privacy pioneer” for his research and writing on marketing and digital-privacy. He has authored twelve books, edited five, and written more than 160 articles on mass media industries. His most recent books are The Voice Catchers: How Marketers Listen In to Exploit Your Emotions, Your Privacy, and Your Wallet (Yale, 2021), Media Today: Mass Communication in a Converging World (Routledge, 2020), and The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power (Yale, 2017).  Turow’s continuing national surveys of the American public on issues relating to marketing, new media, and society have received a great deal of attention in the popular press, as well as in the research community. He has been interviewed widely about his research, including by NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, The Atlantic, the BBC, CBS News, and elsewhere. He has also written about media and advertising for the popular press, including the New York Times, The Atlantic, American Demographics magazine, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times.  He currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, the International Journal of Communication, and Media Industries.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022
1:00pm - 2:00pm
Time Zone:
Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
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