You start to see stories like this more often these days. The impersonality of the Internet is most commonly reviewed when it appears in the form of invective and vitriol spewed by safely anonymous commenters, but this is the kind of virtual existence that the ‘net really thrives on. People have blamed the internet for the deterioration of intrapersonal contact in the social arena, but I wonder if the business applications are even more worrisome. This is what leads to Google bombs, and I can’t help but feel that the feeling elicited when numbers disembark from day to day reality is what leads to subprime mortgage tranches and derivatives trading. Big finance and corporations has always had a vested interest in failing to see customers as true individuals; the internet only makes that easier.
On the other hand, I hope I write a book someday that two ‘bots on Amazon think is worth millions of dollars.