Foretelling: Will Crystal Balls Run On Android?

Android invasion, Sydney, Australia
Android invasion, Sydney, Australia (Photo credit: Pranav Bhatt)




Foretelling: Will Crystal Balls Run On Android?


By  on November 3, 2013 at 10:22 AM


It is always good to take a look at the people in the metro or train to get a better sense of the impact of technology in our lives. Consumers’ rapidly evolving and new tastes become apparent, a process that should interest anyone with some interest in where we are headed.

Until not very long ago, it was common to see few commuters reading newspapers or magazines while most stood up trying not sleep. Today things have changed. The expansion of mobile app markets and with mobile signal coming to the metro people can use their smartphones to read, play games, surf the internet or check updates on their favorite social networks like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Through tablets they can watch the latest episodes of their favorite shows and e-readers, on the other hand, are taking the place of books and magazines.

From a security point of view I cannot avoid but observe that we tend to share our activities more and more. While in Foursquare or Waze we share our location intentionally, we actually geotag everything and most of the time we are not aware of it. Think of the games we play on tablets or phones. Some require an internet connection which accesses the phone and other sensors in our devices making our position trackable by anyone.

Position tracking can be extremely useful for marketing, among others. Also, marketers can insider the use of social network apps on different devices to map how different groups behave: places they visit, time spent online vs offline, what they use their devices for, how many devices they use etc…

But where does all that data flow to? Google and Apple are maybe two of the most data rich companies out there as they collect all sorts of information coming from people using their devices (Android and iOS) and online services. Big players such as Amazon, Facebook, Samsung and Microsoft shouldn’t be much behind though.

It is easy to see that this trend will probably be reinforced in the future as our lives become more and more connected while awareness of the amount of information/data that we give away about ourselves remains quite low.

In line with such trend, devices like Google glasses will almost certainly enter our lives soon even though it might take a couple of years more. We’re already witnessing an expansion on the vendor side. Think of Samsung Gear, for example, through which Samsung is trying to expand the connection domain to watches. It looks like the electronic bracelet we use to track people is more common than we thought.

I will leave ethical considerations to others, but from a security viewpoint I must stress that the world is becoming a small village where the whereabouts, interests and habits of anyone are becoming easier than ever to find. The fact that such data are “owned” by so few entities, on the other hand, can constitute a real threat to our privacy (viz. PRISM). And this threat becomes bigger with the lack of understanding most people have of the vast amounts of data they deliver while making use of innovative services. In our hyperconnected world the notion of privacy begs to be reconsidered and redefined too, apparently.

Now I am left wondering how far we are from the day when Google will start selling Android Crystall Balls for foretellers. The data are there, after all. Such a gadget could automatically connect to the customer’s smart device, extracting data and making some tracking automatically, ultimately helping the foreteller read past, present and predict the future in a more “scientific” way.

first publishing on Daft Blogger




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