AI is now watching television (and you)

by Aaron Franz

first posted Feb 2011


A new Artificial intelligence (machine learning) technology by Bluefin Labs has been produced to do market research. It's function: to watch television programs, and listen to what people are saying about them on social media websites at the same time. By


This technology is being sold to "top tier brands and advertisers" so that they may better understand

your online babbling, and make cents of it. It may seem cute, innocent, and fun to most people, but the fact is that constant television commentary on facebook is a serious commodity. To actually understand those seemingly endless comments about Glee, football, and humorous commercials is to understand the hive mind itself. Harnessing the power of this buzz is serious business. Taking a cue from television audiences, advertisers now demand instant gratification.

Bluefin was created by two professors. Basing the business on "15 years of MIT research at the intersection of cognitive psychology and Artificial Intelligence" they started Bluefin in 2008. A grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) got them started.

Next time you say something like this... 

"This commercial is damn sure don't make me want Burger King"

-an actual twitter remark

...just think about who, or more appropriately, what, may be listening.


I do hope that Bluefin uses ethical phishing practices, and that no dolphins get caught up in their nets.