A recent story in Technology Review discussed the concept that the incredible amount of data being generated by the Internet of Things is offering opportunities previously only imagined in the minds of the most forward thinking marketers. By understanding existing customer behavior, can technologies and products be designed to influence future actions?

Marketers are no strangers to the concept of influencing habit patterns. Making it cool to smoke encourages cigarette consumption, leading to new smokers. Engaging casino visitors with sex and greed gets people to visit and spend. Now, however, brand marketers are utilizing actual data from user consumption to influence future activities.

According to the article, designers can now create new technologies that combine behavioral analytics with the digital technologies most of us use every day. For example, one company cited uses data generated while people are viewing a web page to make subtle changes to the page structure and design depending on previously collected data on each individualís browsing history.

Using game theory and predictive modeling to create new technologies designed to influence behavior is a new and potentially troubling field of applied psychology. Imagine the effects this could have on consumer behavior, or even future voting behavior. While there is no easy solution to protect consumers from this new trend, awareness may be one of the best defenses against these new persuasion tactics.