Featured Story
Recent Stories
Stories by Topic
News
Make the universe a better place! Support DSF with a donation:
small-go-arrowdonate
Take me to a...
Random story
top-rated stories only
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
small-go-arrowsearch
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private

Breaking News
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
DSF for Kindle
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
Submit your story
Check story status
Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.
close






Targeted

Clayton Hackett is an attorney in San Antonio, Texas. This is his first published work of fiction. More information about Clayton is available at claytonhackett.com.
I am a sick man, with only the algorithm to keep me company now. My liver is damaged; of course the algorithm knew before I did. It tried to warn me, in its way, but back then I did not yet know how to read the ads like tea leaves or, more appropriately, entrails.
The doctors can tell me when the damage became irreversible. My memory is foggy, but I believe that it was when the clickbait stopped trying to show me the signs of a fatty liver. How to lose belly fat. Top ten signs of a substance abuse problem. How to pick the best rehab facility.
There were other ads, too, of course, for many different things. Some were targeted, some deliberately not. That's why I couldn't understand what the algorithm was trying to tell me.
I thought it was noise, but it was only a different kind of signal.
I like to think that the algorithm tried to save my marriage, too. It tried to warn me. Is she unhappy? How to tell if she's cheating. Take a romantic vacation.
I have to assume now everything is signal, everything is important.
The algorithm wants to help me be at peace now with a meditation app. Find new friends. Pick a coffin that really expresses who I am inside.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, October 4th, 2018


Between the revelations about Cambridge Analytica's operations and a news article about a father learning that a certain department store's direct marketing department knew his teenage daughter was pregnant before he did, I can't help but wonder which online ads are specifically targeted at me and for what reason, especially considering the staggering variety. With that question in the back of my mind, the synchronicity between a clickbait link and the narrator's complaint in Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground gave me the seed for this story.

- Clayton Hackett

RATE THIS STORY
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

5.2 Rocket Dragons Average

SHARE THIS STORY

JOIN MAILING LIST
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):
 
Copyright Info
Tell a Friend
Send Feedback
About Us