From most reports, we are a nation of cord cutters. We are technology addicts that speak responsibly of privacy and propriety in the way digital businesses deal with us, but simultaneously consume irrationally and become easily distracted by, and attracted to, the digital squirrel of innovation.
There were a number of stories last week that set me to thinking of where the trend goes. We’ve moved from a model of active and directed consumption, to more passive and predictive feeding with things like location based services and augmented reality. It begs the question of when we may encounter literal consumption of technology that is embedded within us and becomes a part of us – or consumes us.
The most recent article in this trend comes out of the D11 conference where Google Glass and an Apple watch – and even a Disney wristband – grabbed center stage.
My fear is that the more technology becomes a proactive and transparent agent in our online interactions, the less we may think about the specifics of those interactions and the potential side effects. Are we headed toward putting technology on autopilot, and allowing it to guide where we go, only realizing too late where we end up. And just this week, stories of Google Glass going ‘full creepy’ are emerging.
It feels as if we’re approaching a critical juncture and need to make some decisions. In the words of Morpheus, “You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
Another article that drove this point further home for me was Nick Bilton’s column, At Odds Over Privacy Challenges of Wearable Computing. In it, he compares the privacy debate to Dr. Seuss’s “Butter Battle Book” in which the differing views of the Zooks and the Yooks escalate to threaten an all-out war. It’s an interesting and amusing comparison, but one that I feel may be misleading. The Zooks and the Yooks were relatively equal from an adversarial perspective, and escalation was matched on either side.
In the war of technology, those who would wish to slow the money making machine that feeds off of information do not have the marketing and sales armies – or customer conscripts – of their enemy, nor is their influence equal in the information infrastructure that facilitates the conversations. It’s not lost on me that the story of the Zooks and Yooks was released in a year that was also of note for other reasons. Stay safe folks and remember, Google Glass doesn’t wink-and-shoot people, people wink-and-shoot people.