I’ve been writing this blog since Jan of 2010. I try to write every day but I am not always able to lately with a new kid at home. Still, I have written about 850 posts so far. An interesting side effect I have been noticing is some of the technology I have been writing about is now coming true, or at least is starting to come true. Therefore I am going to start blogging some updates about technologies I have written about.
First, in A Data Driven Society I wrote quite a lot about how we are getting better and more effective surveillance tools. These tools are then being watched by computers and going into databases. This will allow governments (and private companies) to collect data on people in order to predict trends. I speculated on the rise of private surveillance networks. Well, turns out we are starting to see the prototypes already.
For example, Nordstroms is tracking cell phone signals as they move through their stores. They say they are only watching traffic in their store, and this is I’m sure true, but it’s just the start.
Could there be more added to this system? Oh yes, it’s already being tested too. (H/T Newscientist)
“No more sneaking peeks at toys in the mall: SideWays, a new eye-tracking device, will catch you at it. As soon as you walk up to it, it automatically starts tracking what you peer at – which could allow shop owners to show you adverts on a video screen for products that you seem interested in.”
This is just the start of a possible zero-privacy society in which your every move and action is tracked. (see Implications Of Computers With Senses)
Another technology I have been following is augmented reality. I was also particularly interested in the recording capabilities of head mounted cameras. I had mentioned that society does not have any rules to deal with this. This year Google has begun their Google Glass project, which allows recording at any time.
Turns out the backlash has already begun. Controversy grows over Google’s Glass project
If Google Glass takes off, they fear, people will experience life, quite literally through the lens of Google.
The backlash is taking many forms. In Seattle, which coincidentally happens to be the home of Google rival Microsoft, the dive bar 5 Point emerged as the nexus of the opposition after it became the first establishment in the world to ban wearers of Google Glass. That war cry has also been taken up by the website StoptheCyborgs.com whose stated aim is “fighting the algorithmic future one bit at a time,” and which offers Google Glass ban signs as well as stickers and T—shirts.
It claims that the device will make hidden cameras ubiquitous, that people will have no way of knowing if they are being recorded, and that merely having the device in operation will furnish Google with an inordinate amount of detailed data about the user.
“There are serious consequences for human society. There will no longer be any distinction between the ‘digital world’ and the ‘real world’. People will make decisions and interact with other humans in the real world in a way which increasingly depends on information that Google Glass tells them,” the site claims.
A few years ago all this was science fiction and yet here it comes for real. The important take away here is all of this technology is going to come to the classroom. How schools react to this will determine if they will become more relevant or less in preparing students for the world outside the classroom.