Howdy folks! Long time, eh? I finally took a little time to provide a little care for this site.
Anyway – to the point. My friends and I used to joke about our stuff becoming self aware. Hell, we even used to wish for it… especially my car. Boy, I wish my car could talk, jump, drive itself….. I digress.
These days, technology self-awareness seems attainable – that is, if it hasn’t happened already. Technology situational awareness is already there. Need proof? Check out your smart phone.
I (currently) use the Nexus 5. As a good techie, I tied it to my main Google account to the phone and started using it. The day I ordered it, I fired up maps.google.com to search for the closest Sprint store to activate it. When I input my starting location, I noticed that my address had been aliased as ‘Home.’ I didn’t alias this manually. Best I can figure, Google assumed that I had shipped my phone to my house, and so it now knew that I lived at 1515 Mockingbird Lane (points to you readers for getting the reference without Google). Interesting, right? It gets spookier.
After 1 week, the phone began theorized that the place I travel to every morning was ‘Work.’ So, the phone prompted me – ‘Do you work at this place? Yes/No.’ I hearkened back to grade school when kids used to pass each other the same type of note. Quickly, my senses shifted from a nostalgic haze to a keen awareness about the amount of information my PHONE knows about me. …and that’s just MY PHONE.
Now, think about technologies like Nest, August, etc… the sprinkler systems that check the local weather to determine when and when not to water. In the next 10 years, most if not all of these technologies will talk to each other to automate your life.
While this sounds cool, think about how this works. Each machine must somehow monitor your behavior, and then make inferences as to your preferences. Repeat that last sentence to yourself, and then think imagine EVERY mechanical device around you just… watching you.
How does this pertain to privacy? Well, for each of these technologies to become smarter, some PERSON has to first monitor your behavior (and many many others) to create the heuristics to make the machine work. In other words, someone will mine the GPS in your phone, car, iPad, etc. These insights will be cross-referenced with your search habits in the search engine of your choice, and your purchase history from your favorite online retailer.
Are you ok with this? I’m on the fence.