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I love being a living data beacon. Can’t wait for the future 1

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Peter Thompson

It struck me recently, that so many concepts I have seen in movies in the past were turning into reality. I remember Maxwell Smart starting with a shoe and a wrist phone and thinking that was pretty funny.

Now, I find myself with a fitbit permanently worn on my wrist. It tracks the number of steps I take in a day and measures my sleep. It estimates the number of calories that I burn and has a cloud software application where the ongoing results of my activity are stored. The cloud software and the fitbit are both connected to an application on my iPhone. The application has more advanced functionality that allows me to input my food and drink consumption. I can also set calorie burning targets. It even buzzes me when I reach my calorie burning goal to congratulate me. For one day’s data, this is not so interesting. But across a larger sample, I can begin to see patterns in my exercise, eating, sleeping and drinking habits.

It made me think about all the new wearable technology and devices emerging and what the near future will hold.

And I’m just wondering, how long is it before I get a smart watch? With some luck, it will monitor my pulse and heartbeat on an ongoing basis and perhaps let me know when I need to take it easy. Probably, it will have all of my applications installed on it because it will either run IoS or Android. Maybe it will have a Bluetooth connection to synchronise any data or even better to stream music or make calls. Perhaps it will easily display my photos and have ‘encrypted digital keys’ which means I wouldn’t need to carry keys anymore to open something. Probably, it will control all the devices in my house and work.

With that kind of technology, maybe I will be able to control everything around me. Wow, how about that?

With my cool, smart eye wear, I will have extra eyes and sensors assisting me with everything. I will be able to walk down the street and know where there are potholes, dangerous people, or, hang on, it might just say “watch out there is a bus coming,” because the bus is connected to the same network. Maybe my watch might instinctively paralyse my movement to prevent me being run over by the bus.

I am also looking forward to when mobile video conferencing becomes more prevalent. I just love the idea that someone can call me and ask me to turn on my video so that they can confirm where I am. Sometimes, I do go and have a quick beer with a colleague even though I am not supposed to.

And I just wonder how long it will be before my doctor doesn’t talk to me anymore because all he needs to do is log into my profile to know how much exercise, teeth brushing, eating and drinking I have been doing. Probably he will also have access to all my travel and demographic data because devices attached to me will be sending data to some sort of wireless or satellite receiver that have everything mapped into a database that can later be mined.

Telecommunication carriers already have all my location data, they just don’t expose it to applications that I can use (yet). Probably they will see that data asset as a way to make more money in the future. They are already tracking every move, every step, every location and every key stroke. All that data is being held somewhere and is just waiting to be unlocked and combined in some useful way.

I take comfort in the fact that I am a living data beacon. I am sure the government, my bank and insurance company will eventually step back to my past and remind me of my life in the future when I had long forgot.

The vision was once that us humans would be hooked up to computers to download data and information. That part didn’t exactly eventuate but becoming a data beacon is pretty much what happened.

And with all this logging of data, anyone and everyone could in principle really know every single thing about me.

Maybe I will get hacked and someone will erase my past and create a new one.

I am beginning to wonder if time travel might just become a reality. After all the things I have seen over the past few years, I just can’t discard it.

♦ End

About Peter Thompson

Peter Thompson
Peter Thompson founded GCOMM in 1996. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering/Information Systems from Griffith University and his MBA from Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Holland. He believes in building great teams of people, both in business and socially.
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