Thoughts on predictive shopping?

We may not have a crystal ball to help us know the future, but some companies are peering into algorithmic consumer analytics to anticipate our shopping needs and desires before we even know them.

Harvard law professor Cass R. Sunstein conducted a survey to find out what Americans think of this idea. He reported his results in a piece called “Shopping Made Psychic”on Thursday’s New York Times op-ed page: Nearly 30 percent of the respondents liked the idea of using a home monitor system that would purchase routine goods (like soap and toilet paper) without their explicit approval.

Forbes writer Evan Selinger doesn’t like the idea: “Shopping lists for the grocery store may seem mundane and be a hassle to write. But … they’re a practice that pivots our consciousness beyond the present.”

What do we gain from predictive shopping? What would we lose? Email

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