Thursday, June 2, 2016

Imagine if you will...

Photo: Chen-Pan Liao
Imagine if you will that it's 1950, 1960, 1970, or 1980, in fact any year before 1984 will work.

You get up in the morning at 0623 get in a shower set to 114 degrees for 12 minutes.  You remove 2 eggs, some bacon, and orange juice from your refrigerator.  You have toast... medium light.  Unbeknownst to you all of this information is being recorded by a third party.  You get in your car at precisely 0725 and head to the train station, your route, turn by turn being annotated in a ledger.  You buy a ticket on the 0745 train, and find a seat.  Someone looking over your shoulder takes note of every article you read.

At work you spend 73.4% of your time actually working, everything you do is monitored and recorded.  On the way home you go to the mall, you are followed from store to store, not only what you buy is recorded but everything you look at as well.  Finally home you kick back on the couch with a TV dinner and watch only 23 minutes of the news (you change the channel after the weather), everything you watch, the commercials you flip away from, all of it is recorded.  At the end of the day you get into bed at precisely 2117 PM.

For those of you old enough to remember... how would you have felt about the society described?  A society in which all of your activities are monitored, scrutinized, and analyzed.  Everywhere you go, everything you do, everything you buy (and how much and how you paid for it), EVERYTHING, is tracked.

That society exists today.  If I asked you thirty or forty years ago to allow me to attach a tracking device to you, chances are you would have gotten fairly upset... today, we carry them willingly.  They are in our phones, our cameras, our cars.  Didn't get NAV? Doesn't matter your car is still equipped with a GPS... OnStar, Sync, Access Assist, every vehicles has the equipment whether you subscribe to the service or not. How do you think GM knows where to send the police if you're in an accident and unable to press the button? Disabled the GPS on your phone? Doesn't matter the phone can be tracked based on the cell towers it is in communication with.  

You don't even need to go online, if you make a purchase with anything but cash everything about it, time of day, amount spent, what items you purchased can be assigned to your name and tracked. If you have a credit card with RFID not only what you purchased can be tracked but how long you spent in front of a particular display can be tracked... ever wonder how come you get bombarded with ads for a product you didn't purchase?  Well, you simply spent too long in front of the Balsamic Vinegar shelf.

The time is not far off when you can get a complete inventory of what is in your house, your refrigerator, your kitchen cabinets at any given time, the technology exists today. General Mills most likely knows what you buy already, in the not to distance future they'll know if and when their products are in your home and whether you bought and ate that box of Cheerios or whether it's still up there lingering in some dark corner of your kitchen, uneaten and unappreciated.

Welcome to the future! Hope you like it.

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