In the Terminator movies the networked Skynet artificial intelligence system becomes self-aware and attempts to exterminate the human race. While perhaps far fetched, the premise and the movie’s antagonists are scary warnings about what could happen in the future when machines rule the earth.
Based on a few new products coming out of CES 2014 I’m concerned we might be heading down that path. The ubiquity of wireless products, networks, and apps seems to be laying a groundwork where most of humankind (at least, those of us ‘on the grid’) is wired and watched at the same time.
Got hard to reach places in your mouth that get skipped over when you brush your teeth because you’re in a hurry? The wireless, electric Bluetoothbrush with an iPhone app can be your Big Brother hygienist and warn you when your mouth isn’t up to proper cleanliness standards.
How about the Bluetooth enabled fork which watches how you eat while the connected app can tell you if you’re eating too fast, or you’ve been eating too much.
Big Brother, indeed.
Already Apple’s iBeacon can track our locations in stores, capture information about where we are, and display advertising and promotional information based on our profile.
We have wireless networks following us wherever we go, connected apps alerting or alarming us about this or that, rooms that light up or power down as we enter or leave, wearable products which track our locations, steps, blood pressure, heart-rate, and probably credit scores and credit card balances (Vver your credit limit? No promotions or sale items for you!).
The intelligent home seems right around the corner, following close behind the wave of wearable technology, with smart cars that interact with our smartphones, and all of it wired by wireless into a huge interconnected network of devices that seem to monitor our every move.
My question is, ‘Who monitors the monitors?‘
I loves me my own fair share of gadgets and bling and personal tech, but with the state of device security being what it seems to be (not all that secure), how long before someone else– human or artificial intelligence– hacks into our personal devices to control or wreak havoc on our connected lives.
Sometimes I think I should become part of the growing human resistance and get off the grid and as far away as possible from any technology that can track or monitor where I am or what I do.
Then, other times, I’ll see some new techno-bling and say, ‘Cool!’ while reaching for my credit card. All these technology advancements are both scary and fun.