Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image

Transformative Technologies

And Google will have a record of every single incident
Do you really want them to have that?

H/T Next Big Future

20 Comments

  1. APL says:

    Now I think Computers are great, earned my living over the last thirty years thanks to knowing stuff about them.

    But I don’t need a frickin computer to tell me how to walk from one part of a department store to another part of a department store.

    That is just insanely stupid.

    And while I think Computers are great, I recognize that technology is essentially deskilling. Which I find a concern.

    Cue: Yea but we don’t make wagon wheels anymore. True, but basic stuff, how to orientate yourself in a location and find your way from A to B with the aid of a map – that is pretty simple and doesn’t need to be computer assisted.

    No, I don’t have a GPS nor sat Nav.

  2. Sam Duncan says:

    No, but I get less worried about this kind of thing than I used to: there’ll be alternatives that don’t involve Google (or anyone else) recording everything. And there’ll always be luddites like APL. ;)

    As to Project Glass itself, I just don’t see it happening like that. It looks like the wrist radios beloved of gee-whiz 20th Century sci-fi: now that we all have personal communication devices, we know that they work better as phones you keep in your pocket. Same thing here. Sure, it looks great that you could have all this stuff superimposed on your vision, but that means everybody wearing glasses all the time. It’ll be cool for six months among the early-adopting suckers, but nobody’s going to go for it in a big way. I don’t see voice control really taking off either. As the technology improves, it’ll be part of the experience, but only part of it.

    Plus, why does it only tell him the Subway’s off when he’s at the top of the steps?

  3. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    Forgive my use of the vernacular but F**k the de-skilling aspect, this is total and absolute monitoring (and therefore control) all the time of everyone.

    APL is not the only luddite, I will still be using some old desktop in the years to come because I can switch it off and it doesn’t follow me around or tag me* and I still need to, and enjoy thinking.

    Too much of this stuff and a large proportion of the world just do a google search for every major decision.

    (*Yes, I have more or less binned the mobile phone as well, try it and be liberated, unless you are President, how many calls are really THAT important?)

  4. RAB says:

    I have a Stupid mobile phone, not a smart one, and I barely use El Stupid. It’s pay as you go, I put £20 on it about 6 months ago, and still have £15 left in the account. It is used for emergency calls incoming and outgoing only. I have no wish to walk round this world looking like I’m taking Tricorder readings in the first series of Star Trek, as the rest of the people seem to be. So this really doesn’t affect me.

    We have been on holiday in West Wales for the past week, and my lovely, but forgetful wife neglected to put the road atlas in the car. It has an inbuilt Sat Nav, but believe me it is a bloody sight easier to use a map, so we went out and bought a new one in Tenby. Sorted!

  5. Edward Lud says:

    “I don’t need a frickin computer to tell me how to walk from one part of a department store to another…”

    Have you ever been to Ikea?

  6. CountingCats says:

    Fine, so the things will be used in ways unanticipated by the designers, and won’t be used in ways they anticipate. So what? They will still be used.

    RAB, you don’t use a mobile? Again, so what? You are a single data point. Millions, hell, billions, of other data points indicate you are an outlier.

    Just as today we see people with bluetooth earpieces everywhere, these things, or something similar, will become ubiquitous.

  7. RAB says:

    Always happy to be an outlier Cats :-)

    And Google can’t track me via my phone cos I aint playing, but they can in other ways as I use Google Chrome as a browser, and Yahoo via Firefox.

    Some of my email chums have been discussing this very recently, and you know already of of my towering heights of computer literacy, so what do you think of this…

    http://duckduckgo.com/about.html

    As a search engine? Will it avoid the above tracking problems, or be more of the same? I have no idea, just asking?

  8. Linda Morgan says:

    “these things, or something similar, will become ubiquitous”

    Whatever the something is, surely it’ll have to be dissimilar enough not to plaster moving pictures all over a person’s field of vision. Real people – Grandpa, your neighbor’s teenage kids – wearing those things in the real world would be tumbling down subway stairs, walking into walls and making their primary connections with other Project Glass customers by bouncing off their front bumpers, both in the street and on the sidewalk.

    You’d think somebody at Google would be able to Google “product liability risk management.”

  9. Andrew Duffin says:

    It’s interesting that the market is providing non-Google options now that Google is beginning to be seen as a branch of Big Brother.

    RAB, you might like to try IXQuick.com as well.

    I have no connection to either, nor any opinion as to how good they are or are not.

  10. APL says:

    Single Acts of Tyranny: “*Yes, I have more or less binned the mobile phone as well, try it and be liberated, unless you are President, how many calls are really THAT important?”

    I spend a farily large amount of time with a group of kids – 18 to 22, we take meal breaks together, while there is conversation of sorts, mostly everyone is texting or watching the internet on the mobile.

    Mind you, I’d have died for a piece of kit that these folk take for granted when I was their age.

    My mobile phone is useful to keep tags on my mistress and annoy the wife. So it ain’t all bad.

  11. wh00ps says:

    Arguably, i wouldn’t be reading this now without a mobile phone that read it, in fact i possibly would still be a big -state fool. I do most of my internetting through the mobile, during lunch, on the bus etc etc. I don’t turn the laptop or desktops on from one week to the next.

  12. Ian B says:

    I have a Stupid mobile phone, not a smart one, and I barely use El Stupid. It’s pay as you go, I put £20 on it about 6 months ago, and still have £15 left in the account.

    A man after my own heart.

    It’s not so much the Big Brother aspect that bothers me about all this. I mean, it does of course. All this data in the hands of the State, or even large “private” corps like Google, runs all sorts of risks. But that’s not what gets me.

    I think it was Camille Paglia who said something to the effect that the story of social progress is the story of greater privacy. In primitive tribes, you don’t have any. Everyone belongs to everyone else, it is truly “collective”. As we have advanced, we have become private.

    It seems to me that an awful lot of people want to throw all that away. The danger of Facebook isn’t really the State knowing what you did last night. It’s a college kid’s mom knowing he was at a party last night, kind of thing. A society where we can only do those things we want to admit to everyone that we do- because all our activities are “shared”- is a worrying prospect indeed.

    Now I know the argument is, these technologies will and do have privacy options. The problem is, once it becomes normal to share your life, not doing so becomes an admission you were up to something naughty.

    I don’t want somebody to know I’m 402 feet away, thanks. I don’t want somebody saying, “hey, why did you turn off your location tracking, what were you up to?” either. Privacy isn’t just about avoiding the SS kicking your door down. It’s also about being private from one another.

    Well, I dunno. Maybe it’s just that whenever they make this kind of video, the people in it, you just know they voted Obama, don’t you?

  13. John Galt says:

    Sorry, but like RAB I have spent the last 30-years of my life (since ‘winning’ a ZX Spectrum in 1982) working with, playing with an using computers.

    I know the danger of ‘Big Brother snooping’ and the power of databases – I also used to work as a consultant to the UK and Singaporean Government so understand the frightening mindset of the minions that feed the engines of the state.

    Like RAB, I’ve given up on technology which (although useful) is too intrusive. It’s not just the tracking, it’s the continual intrusion of work into my personal life.

    When I was forced to have a BlackBerry by my American employers I set it to automatically switch off at 18:00 hrs and switch back on at 08:30 hrs the following day. When queried as to why I didn’t pick up on some bullshit e-mail published by the yanks a 02:00 hrs London time, I just said “Sorry – I live out in the country, mobile reception is pretty much impossible” – Fucking idiots.

    So when I quit and handed in the technology, I was really, really glad to get rid of it. The corporate intrusion into my life taught me a lesson that I won’t repeat.

    Nowadays I have an unregistered and unlocked pre-pay mobile for phone that cost me £15.97 and was bought for cash. Any time I like I can dump the SIM and get a new number – only my wife knows the number. My mobile is always set to not display my caller ID, if anyone gets hold of the number that I don’t want I can just dump the SIM and get a new one. Top-ups are done by cash vouchers and I only keep £20 max on the phone so I have no incentive NOT to dump it.

    I don’t do Facebook – I do pubs, with real ale and real people.

    I understand the youngsters fascination with technology and I would probably have been the same at their age, however I equally understand the dangers. There are some youthful mistakes and indiscretions that can’t easily be erased once they are handed into the maw of the internet.

    I don’t want and don’t need to by invisible – but anonymous is a good aim.

  14. Sam Duncan says:

    I’ve been using DuckDuckGo almost since it began, RAB. Originally I liked its no-tracking policy, but I’ve stuck with it just because it’s better, and that’s usually why I recommend it to people now. The privacy’s almost a bonus. I particularly like the disambiguation box that appears at the top of a vague search. Very nice.

    It’s interesting that it seems to be those of us in our late 30s and early 40s who’ve grown up with computers – the 8-bit generation – who turn out to be the least gung-ho about current developments. Okay, I do have a smartphone, but it’s pre-pay: I put a tenner into it back in December, I think, and most of it’s still there. I have an offline map thing on it that’s quite handy, but my main use of it is as a little tablet computer, at home, on WiFi. Of course, being Android, this means I have a Google account, but as I said a few days ago, they know nothing about me except my GMail address – which I never use – and what apps I’ve downloaded. I can live with that.

    I’m just not interested in this always-connected social networking thing at all. Been there, done (most of) that, on Usenet and IRC. (And we didn’t need to pull in Javascript from a dozen different domains across broadband connections to do it, either.)

    In fact, I tend to look on the majority of the population – including our non-geeky contemporaries – as undergoing “a phase” that we 8-bitters passed through back in the ’90s. We got over the obsession, assimilating the useful bits into our lives, discarding the intrusive and pointless, and so will they, eventually. The problem is that there’s so many more of them, a lot of damage may be done before then. And since, as we know, nobody’s responsible for anything (“corporations” being run by evil space robots), we’ll all have to pick up the mess.

  15. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    @ APL “I spend a farily large amount of time with a group of kids – 18 to 22, we take meal breaks together, while there is conversation of sorts, mostly everyone is texting or watching the internet on the mobile”

    Young master SAOT is nearly three so he is pre-mobile phone technology, but when he does demand one, I will be installing a signal blocker at meal times. If there is one sure sign of an anti-social inadequate it is someone texting/surfing facebook instead of engaging with others when they are around. My friend’s teen daughter is just like this, semi-literate, unable to communicate or indeed have anything to say (short of Facebook likes and pokes etc) and utterly clueless.

    “My mobile phone is useful to keep tags on my mistress and annoy the wife. So it ain’t all bad”

    Quality!

  16. John Galt says:

    @SAoT:

    Have you thought about installing a mobile signal jammer in the house?

    Totally illegal obviously (but what isn’t these days), but helps to motivate the young ‘uns.

    I got mine from Israel – nice kit. They install them in cinemas and restaurants so that the locals can get some peace for a change – at least from the omni-present mobile phone signal if not the dispossessed Palestinians.

  17. NickM says:

    Sam is right about the voice control. But I thought Spex as Bruce Sterling had them in various stories are cool. Except Spex don’t work quite like that. They are more like a HUD which shows what it is pre-set to show. They don’t have to have continuous online connectivity. There is also the not inconsiderable questions of power consumption and projection at infinity (aka 15m+) . This is why fighter jets have HUDs but very few cars – and those very crude. The optics are a pain. And basically everything Sam said. Especially as to us 8-bit vets. And the clunk of a closed station being revealed at the station. D’oh!

    And where’s my jet-pack? And will this work in Nickville, Titan?

  18. NickM says:

    I suspect building from components a 3G jammer is relatively straightforward with stuff from Maplins or Radio Shack. Just a noise maker throttled to those frequencies. I said, I suspect…

  19. CountingCats says:

    Except that, jamming on your own property I can accept, even approve of, but if the jamming leaks onto anywhere else? How do you control that? Set up a Faraday cage around your house and lands? In that case, you don’t need a jamming device.

  20. Tim Newman says:

    It has an inbuilt Sat Nav, but believe me it is a bloody sight easier to use a map, so we went out and bought a new one in Tenby.

    You need a map around Tenby? Not me! :P

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: