Persuasion is as old as humanity
itself, and records exist to show that the available technology of the
day has been used to assist with persuasion for many thousands of
years, and has evolved over the centuries to become more effective.
The earliest persuasive technologies were those that facilitated
The first major advancement though was the
technology that facilitated books, flyers, pamphlets, billboards and
other forms of widely reproduced written and later visual
communication. Sometimes these have a profound effect on culture - for
example the Shanghai lady image in 1930s China. Today there are a
plethora of electronic technologies that can be used for persuasive
The key difference between "persuasion technology" in the modern sense
and the persuasion techniques that might have been used by a Roman emperor or a
radical cleric supporting the reformation is the degree of reciprocal
technical equality. In ordinary conversation unaided by persuasive
technology, an individual may be more eloquent and persuasive than
another individual, depending on their relative talents and training.
But persuasive technology can give one interlocutor a technological
edge and this might be the decisive factor. Improving intrusive
technology e.g. RFID tags make this a rather more subversive process.
Selling car insurance
is an art of persuasion and influence. The auto insurance field is
very competitive so the insurance sales people need to be
persuasive. These days you can
insurance on the web by comparing quotes from several major
auto insurance companies.
There are recorded incidences of carpenters or stonemasons defeating
highly respected scholars in classical rhetorical history. This would
be more difficult today. Carpenters and stonemasons generally do not
have the same access to persuasive technology as experts do.