aNewDomain — The idea of technology taking over isn’t a new one. You’ve heard of Hal, Skynet and “The Matrix.” But is it really science fiction? Recent developments suggest that home-based smart tech may be uniquely poised to take over our world — maybe even the world.
Look around. Already, many aspects of our lives have gotten markedly smarter. We have smart home, cars, even clothes as tech makes its way into just about everything. According to Machina Research, by the year 2020 the number of smart connected devices, not even counting PCs, tablets and phones, will balloon from today’s 1.3 billion to somewhere north of 12.5 billion.
That’s a lot of little brains.
Can your home be too smart for its own good?
Google’s acquisition of Nest last year for $3.2 billion raised quite a few eyebrows. Now everyone wants into the smart home biz.
Consider this: Nest’s thermostat isn’t just a thermostat — it not only allows for customized temperature, but it will also track your family’s movements and location to customize each room’s temperature. And now there’s the Works with Nest program, connecting the Nest thermostat to many other smart home devices, cars, and universal remotes. Going even further, Nest (and Google) is now pushing the Nest Cam, a smart camera meant to monitor rooms in your house.
It gets better. Samsung now makes a fridge with an LCD-touch screen connected to the Internet and loaded with your favorite apps, including weather, recipes and even Google calendar sync. You can find smart security systems, smart TVs, smart door locks and even central command consoles to control the works. Will it track what you eat and consume?
Even your bedroom is no haven from the smart home tech explosion. In the US $10,000 will buy you the x12 smart bed. It will monitor your heart rate, breathing rate, movement and assess the quality of your sleep. Based on the data collected, it will provide you with an optimum “sleep number” setting. You also can opt for in-bed massage, timers, under-bed lighting and snore controls (that last function raises the head section of the bed if someone is snoring).
What else could it monitor? And will it watch you as you sleep? It kind of already does.
When your car drives you, could it decide to take you somewhere else entirely?
People always talk to Google about its self-driving car and major automakers have already developed working prototypes of autonomous cars that drive themselves, including Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, Nissan, Toyota, Audi and Volvo.
Notice how auto manufacturers are taking the “boiling frog” approach of gradual implementation of autonomous features. They’re betting you’ll be okay with losing control of your car little by little. Automatic braking is first to arrive. Then there’s adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, pedestrian recognition and parking assist.
What better way to control you than to live on you — that is, on your clothes? Ah.
Clothing and other smart fashion accessories have been steadily creeping their way onto our bodies.
Google Glass was the most high profile of smart wearable technology when it first came out, boasting hands-free features for taking photos or videos, sending them to friends, seeing directions and searching the web by voice command. Facial recognition and GPS mapping is a natural with such tech.
It’s good for Skynet — I mean Google — to know who you’re seeing and where you’re going and who you’re communicating with at all times, right? Snuck under your nose under the guise of convenience.
These devices includes features like heart rate sensors that detect your pulse and heart rate.
And they can track your movements. How convenient.
Smarts shirts have sensors that measure ECG, respiration, temperature and blood oxygen level, which can subsequently reveal blood pressure and other personal data to machines who might trap, I mean help, you.
And have you heard about that new smart hoodie? It can recognize gestures like rolling up a sleeve or putting on the hood. The smart Security Blanket will track children (and why not the parents, too?). Smart goggles for ski slopes, smart yoga mats and fashion-forward smart jewelry will make sure that, wherever you are, Hal knows exactly how to get you.
Did I say get you? I mean — yes, I meant “get you.”
If you’re thinking of escaping, it is already too late. The Skynet revolution has already arrived, we just can’t see it yet.
Sorry, Dave. I can’t let you do that …