The uncanny valley
Tom points us to this fascinating concept. It's called the uncanny valley and it goes back as far as Freud.
When you get too good at faking it, people freak out.
We love cute dogs, cute monkeys, clairvoyant websites, smart voice mail systems.
But we get totally wigged out when a website knows too much about us, when we start talking to a voice mail attendant like she's a real person or when a photo or a robot is just too good. A magician is fine, an actual mind reader we burn at the stake.
The relevant issue here for marketers is what happens when our databases and predictions get too good. I don't want the hotel to automatically serve me the same breakfast as last trip, or for the doorman to pretend he's my friend just because he read a database entry.