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Sell, don’t tell

We are present more and more in the online world. We scroll, buy and read more than ever. Because most of the shared brain (the internet) is free you must be thinking…


Algorithms are tracking your interests, emotions and purchases. They find out where you are, how long you stay to read something and even how your eyes are moving. All of this is with the sole purpose of advertising. Big companies buy your data which makes YOU the product. Companies make a lot of money by using your information to show you exactly what you want to see.

This way of using information impacts your perception of reality. By only showing content that you want to see, you get into a bubble of your own opinions and interests. Inherently that is not problematic if you are aware of it. Most of us are not however and this leads to the segmentation of society. In the end, it could even lead to people totally not understanding each other anymore which can result in wars and miscommunication, thus more sorrow.

How can we make people aware of this?

The project

In this experience called “human auction”, a group of students sheds light on the process of selling personal data. First, you read an informational text asking you the question if we want to continue this process of our data getting used by big companies to target us with ads. How far do we want to let this go? Second, you are confronted with a list of upcoming auctions. You can see the human’s number, their start price, nationality, and the time for the auction.

Finally, you can experience a human auction yourself. When you put on your VR headset you get immersed in an online reality that shows you a hall with people that are bidding for a person’s data. See the price fluctuating as the people around you (representing big companies) bid for the information. The sale ends in…

Relation to our trend

This find is closely connected to our trend blurring boundaries. The lack of knowledge about these “auctions” combined with the lack of control over our data makes the online reality complex. That is why we want to create awareness to ultimately take back our power. In the lawless online jungle, regulations must be implemented to keep it safe and pleasant for everyone. We need to ask ourselves: when do they go too far?

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