Tom Cruise should feel flattered. Any time anyone - especially politicians - raises the spectre of evil corporations tracking the movements of consumers and manipulating their minds, invariably Minority Report is cited as a harbinger. And it is the future that many of us fear. Since the Steven Spielberg film was released in 2002 we have been led to believe the technology portrayed in it is the stuff of fantasy.

Yet five years ago, who would have thought addressable advertising - ads that recognise you, or rather your online presence - might make up half of advertising by 2015, as some predict. Or that apps on mobile phones would be an emerging medium, or that tablets such as the iPad would be selling faster than the iPod.

Very few, I imagine, and those who did are almost certainly very rich.

Advertisers would love to get close to the creepy ''foreknowledge'' portrayed in Minority Report so they could predict our every move. Biometrics, the recognition of a physical trait, is already in use. Google's search engine is predictive. Geo-location mapping services such as Facebook's Places will soon help advertisers to see where you are and, just as importantly, where you are likely to be.

But as I stroll down Pitt Street of a morning do I really want a nanosecond's scan of my iris to trigger a Harvey Norman ad telling me where I can get a great deal of a new 3D TV? Though it is doubtful anyone for that matter actually wants a Harvey Norman ad anywhere, any time, it could be useful if I have already embarked on a new search for a TV. Or I could find it an intrusion...