The Voice Catchers: How Marketers Listen In To Exploit Your Feelings, Your Privacy, and Your Wallet

Yale Univ. May 2021. 344p. ISBN 9780300248036. $30. BUS
This book is about how some think that the analysis of speech patterns and even the qualities of voice (e.g. speed, tone) can reveal the identities and personalities of consumers. Of course to some extent it is a sensible enterprise to ascertain if a potential customer is becoming stressed or impatient. But what this book is discussing goes far beyond surmising the current emotional state of a person; it states that there is a unique voice profile that reveals one’s inner character, discoverable by algorithms. Turow (Robert Lewis Shayon Professor of Media Systems & Industries, Annenberg Sch for Communication, Univ. of Pennsylvania; The Aisles Have Eyes) admits “to a large extent this is a very expensive guessing game, disguised by jargon, that only sometimes pays off.” The author remains concerned though that many people are willing to trade personal information, including biometric data, for convenience in obtaining the goods and services they desire; he considers this dangerous.
VERDICT This may appeal to readers interested in the farther corners of the uses of biometrics by businesses and governments.
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