The internet is too clever. If you go over here to a website or something, and do a bit of searching around, you’ll suddenly find that other shopping sites and social media are offering you adverts for the thing you searched for. How do they know? How are they so effectively tracking me around the place? It’s crazy.
Sometimes the suggestions that come scrolling past your face are so uncannily pinpoint accurate that it’s scary. Other times you feel like maybe the algorithm didn’t have enough to go on and it’s making a wild stab in the dark.
Recently on Instagram (follow me if you like, I never post anything) I’ve been seeing the same advert coming up again and again, posted there by some robot working for Amazon who clearly doesn’t have a very firm grasp on what I want to buy. Its headline suggestion is this all-plastic portable bath with a lid. You can apparently poke your head out to look at something on a laptop, presumably while out and about. Perhaps it’s for people who have sudden irresistible urges to take an immediate bath while, I don’t know, in the car park at Sainsbury’s or half way up a hill in the Peak District.
If you then scroll right, the rest of the suggestions are a real mixed bag. There’s a green leather Chesterfield-style chair and a frog-shaped plantpot. However, there’s also a bed covered in Lego studs that you can build Lego models on, and it even has a display area for minifigures in the headboard. Now that’s something I really do want.