Thinking About the Continuing Loss of Privacy

It’s easy to wonder whether there will ever come a time when humans will no longer have any privacy of any sort. In part, the problem is one of our own making. We open ourselves up to all sorts of intrusions for the sake of using technology we really don’t need. I’ve discussed this issue in the past with posts such as Exercising Personal Privacy. As people become more addicted to technology, the thinking process is affected. The technology becomes a sort of narcotic that people feel they can’t do without. Of course, it’s quite possible to do without the technology, but the will to do so is lacking.

A couple of articles that I read recently have served to highlight the consequences of unbridled technology overuse. The first, Getting Hacked Is in Your Future, describes the trend in hacking modern technology. Of course, avoiding getting hacked is simple—just stop using the technology. For example, people have gotten along just fine without remote car starts to heat their cars. Actually, it’s simply a bad idea because the practice wastes a considerable amount of gas. The point of the article is that hackers aren’t ever going to stop. You can count on this group continuing to test technology, finding the holes, and then exploiting the holes to do something horrid.

Wearable technology is also becoming more of a problem. The ComputerWorld article, Data from wearable devices could soon land you in jail, describes how police will eventually use the devices you use to monitor yourself against you. The problem isn’t the wearable technology, but the fact that many people will use it indiscriminately. Even though logic would tell you that wearing the device just during exercise is fine, people will become addicted to wearing them all the time. It won’t be long and you’ll see people monitoring every bodily function 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The use of cameras to view static locations on a street will soon seem tame in light of the intrusions of new technologies.

A reader recently asked whether I think technology is bad based on some of my recent blog posts. Quite the contrary—I see the careful use of technology as a means of freeing people to become more productive. The problem I have is with the misuse and overuse of technology. Technology should be a tool that helps, not hinders, human development of all sorts. I see technology playing a huge role in helping people with special needs become fully productive citizens whose special need all but disappears (or possibly does disappear to the point where even the technology user doesn’t realize there is a special need any longer).

What is your take on the direction that technology is taking? Do you see technology use continuing to increase, despite the problems that it can pose? Let me know your thoughts on the good uses for technology and the means you use to decide when technology has gone too far at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.

 

Practical Wearable Technology

I keep looking for useful, practical, wearable technology and Google Glass isn’t it. In fact, most of the wearable technology I read about hasn’t impressed me even a little. The problem is that most of this technology has no practical value. At best, it distracts people who are already so distracted that they do things like walk right into fountains while texting. As far as I’m concerned, these people don’t need even a small distraction, much less a major distraction like that provided by Google Glass.

However, Google is working on a practical, useful, wearable technology that apparently isn’t generating much press at all—a smart contact lens for diabetes patients. The new lens monitors a patient’s glucose levels continuously through tears. Instead of having to take readings several times a day (and still missing potential high or low readings), the lens would make it practical to monitor blood sugar continuously. There are technologies currently available that do monitor blood sugar constantly, but they’re inconvenient, restrictive, and uncomfortable. This technology promises to make it possible to monitor blood sugar without disturbing the patient’s daily routine. In fact, with the right configuration, a diabetes sufferer would live pretty much a normal life except for the need to take medications as needed to control blood sugar.

There are other health-related wearable technologies on the horizon. For example, there is Samsung’s Simband that monitors heart rate, blood pressure, and a number of other readings. A device of this sort could make it possible for people with serious health problems to get out of their homes and lead lives that are closer to normal.

Unfortunately, all of these wearable technologies are still in the planning, research, and development phases. Until practical devices appear on the scene, I’ll continue to view wearable technology as yet another disruptive toy with the potential to cause real harm to the wearer. Let me know your thoughts about wearable technology at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.