This is an old article, but Oh no! My TiVo thinks I'm gay is an interesting read at what the future holds for us in terms of automatic profiling of consumers. The TiVo and Amazon are already doing it, and it has some, er, limitations:
Everett-Church, a privacy consultant for businesses, predicts that as techno-profiling increases, more people will purposely muck up their profiles. They'll fear ordering books on mental illnesses or sexual preferences because they'll wonder if they'll somehow be publicly identified.
All techno-profiling companies contacted for this article said that information gleaned is for the customer's personal use only. Still, even Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos knows the potential mortification factor.
For a live demonstration before an audience of 500 people, Bezos once logged onto Amazon.com to show how it caters to his interests. The top recommendation it gave him? The DVD for Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity. That popped up because he had previously ordered Barbarella, starring Jane Fonda, a spokesman explains.
Why does this make me think about Gattaca? I know, it's not sci-fi, it's a glimpse of our near future.