We’ve all heard of product placement. But ‘ailment placement’? That’s what I think I saw on last Wednesday’s “America’s Next Top Model.” The modeling hopefuls were asked to gracefully field rumors at a mock press conference promoting a new line of ANTM clothing. The judges, playing the role of “journalists”, asked one girl about her bisexuality and another about picking her nose.
What surprised me was that one contestant was asked about her… Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The disorder also appeared in subtitles on the screen. It seemed an odd rumor to choose, especially as the nose-picking accusation, also strange, was not accompanied by a formal diagnostic label.
A friend who’s a pharmaceutical sales rep told me it’s quite possible that I witnessed a cousin of product placement – what I’m calling ‘ailment placement’ until I learn the term of art. The IBS mention (and ensuing conversation about flatulence) might be related to a new marketing push by an IBS drug approved not so long ago by the FDA. I won’t name it because this is speculative at this point.
After an extensive search online, I couldn’t find other examples of ‘ailment placement.’ Paranoia, or heightened awareness? The possibility is particularly interesting at a time when some drug companies have been accused of overly aggressive marketing campaigns.
This new data poisoning tool lets artists fight back against generative AI
The tool, called Nightshade, messes up training data in ways that could cause serious damage to image-generating AI models.
Rogue superintelligence and merging with machines: Inside the mind of OpenAI’s chief scientist
An exclusive conversation with Ilya Sutskever on his fears for the future of AI and why they’ve made him change the focus of his life’s work.
The Biggest Questions: What is death?
New neuroscience is challenging our understanding of the dying process—bringing opportunities for the living.
Data analytics reveal real business value
Sophisticated analytics tools mine insights from data, optimizing operational processes across the enterprise.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.