Daily Mail Says Smartphones Want To Predict Our Next Move
The Daily Mail, in their infinite wisdom, recently posted an article about “Technology developed for smartphones which predicts the information you need to know before you even ask it to.”
In other words, Google Now.
In other words, a feature that debuted last year.
Granted, Google Now has been progressing since that time and (so I hear) getting better with what little age it has.
Sort of like Siri.
The Daily Mail article quotes Rao Machiraju, the developer behind the Android personal assistant app ReQall as saying: “Instead of having to search for what they need, the device will quietly provide the right information at the right time.”
Believe it or not, the developer of an app that only exists to know what you’re doing next…believes that devices of the future will know what you’re doing next.
How about this line straight from the writer’s own fingertips?
“By simply asking it (Google Now) to remind you that you need milk, the next time you step into a supermarket it will let you know.”
Sort of like Siri or a host of other apps.
Sort of like technology that’s been around for more than a year.
And though they mention apps for Google AND Apple in the beginning of the article, the only app for iOS they specifically mention is Dark Sky, a rather slick weather app that does less than know what you want to know before you do and more of predict when it’s going to rain at your current location.
Sure, it’s fetching information based on location data…but it seems a stretch to compare it to Google Now.
The latter, after all, has access to your email, your calendar, your contacts and more. Dark Sky has access to your location data, the same as nearly every other app you have downloaded to your phone.
To their credit, the Mail article does mention issues of privacy and Google selling this information to fuel advertisements, two issues which I believe should be addressed as often as possible. It’s also probably why the Mail mentions mostly Google apps and only a few Apple. Sure, the House That Jobs Built is probably using our data in ways we don’t know about, but they’re also not emailing us ads directly to our iCloud address like Google plans to do with Gmail. For better or worse, the very nature of iOS restricts “All Knowing” apps like Google Now or ReQall or Sherpa from crossing lines in a sandboxed playground to share and collect information.
Google Now and the other apps sound like fantastic ideas on the surface. I mean, who would turn down the option to have their phone alert them an hour before they leave work for the day to say “Hey, by the way, you might want to take another route home. Another tanker has flipped on the highway.”
Technology hasn’t been the only barrier standing in the way of making this sort of alert possible. There is also the issue of what apps have access to what information and, most importantly, how does the user feel about this?
Because, as it turns out, we’ve been sharing our information with the world even before smartphones first landed in our pockets. Our co-workers knew we arrived to work a few minutes late every day. Our local donut shop knew that we were probably late because we couldn’t go to work without a cup of joe. Our bankers knew we always showed up at five on the dot every first and fifteenth of the month, paycheck in hand. Our liquor store attendants knew they were the second stop after the bank.
The difference between many years ago and now is that computers, devoid of any human emotion or polite consideration, are compiling this data and storing it away in data banks. Advertisers and “The Man” know this and would just LOVE to take a peak.
Are smartphones and other technologies looking to predict what we’re going to do next? Duh.
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