The recent CES 2018 showed off a lot of exciting new technologies, some immediately applicable and others still under development. What was obvious in this year’s show was the connectivity issue, how more third-party gadgets will connect to social media and software giants such as Amazon and Apple.
Some interesting questions arise from this increasing connectivity:
- Are we exaggerating?
- What about security and privacy?
- How much further will this go?
As we continue to strive for more control over our lives, we increase the complexity and cost of living. We end up working to supply our demand for more gadgets and apps constantly. Instead of making our lives easier, we are actually complicating them, since we require upgrades to maintain connectivity as operating systems change, security features adapt to new threats and privacy is handled to assure that our devices are not hijacked.
Let’s take a look at how life was 30 years ago, when a TV only showed TV, today it is an interactive screen that can be used by a variety of devices for different purposes. This is definitely an improvement, and we can only hope that this diversity of functionality increases over time. This is great unless you end up in an operating system war, where compatibility is part of competition.
This might all be manageable, however, let’s look at the network from a holistic point, everything is interconnected, which means that your smartwatch can tell you your health metrics, your TV will show pop up adverts, and your speaker will suddenly offer you an audio advert. Your glasses will connect to Amazon or Google, and your smartphone will dial up an Uber AV, and a DoorDash ordered a meal. You can start your car from your bed, and control the lighting all around the house as well as talk online with friends. At the same time, your smartphone metrics shows your heart rate is erratic and will dial up a physician, your pill dispenser will notify them that you forgot to take your pill and your kitchen will state that you ate three doughnuts and drank a glass of whiskey.
All this information about your life is being collected by the IT companies and used to profile you for smart advertising as well as passing on any relevant information to law enforcement and secret agencies. Being able to connect to your devices and getting visual, audio, and biometric feedback is the future that CES predicts for us.
Now let’s answer the first question, are we exaggerating? I think not; this is the natural path for human evolution, it is the use of our brains creating technologies that improve life while complicating it. The eco-system in the USA is totally alien to that of the rural Philippines, or provincial Africa. Two worlds are emerging as we accelerate into the future, the world of hi-tech and the world of nature. I personally believe we should keep both worlds since both provide different needs.
Here is a quick look at CES photos during the last 50 years and see what technologies can be seen.
Let’s answer the second question, how about security and privacy.
From built-in PC cameras to smartphones, and CCTV, even speakers, come with small cameras. In fact, anything with a camera can and is being connected to the network. Add to this the connectivity of all home devices, cars, security systems, kitchen appliances and entertainment centers, and you have a life based on electronics. Keeping your home secure and private are two separate yet integrated technologies. As mentioned, the more advanced we become, the more complicated we make our lives. It’s not enough to add apps and third part gadgets; we must secure them. Create firewalls and other security measures to block out intruders.
What I find is that as our life becomes more reliant on technology, so our privacy becomes more public. From electronic banking to government documents and online forms as well as medical files. Our entire lives are digitized, and no we are adding our daily activates to this list. Demanding that more security measures be developed to handle specific and general issues.
Now let’s answer the third question, where are we going with this? The answer depends on the section of science we deal with, if we are discussing transportation, then we are looking at the autonomous car driving in an autonomous road system that maintains logistics in a connected web that will assure safety, speed, and efficiency. At the same time with electronic and alternative energy sources, the traffic system will become eco-friendly both on the health and pocket. If we go to medicine, then a plethora of specialties opens-up including the Nano-tech industry that is split between the electromechanical Nanobots that are being developed to handle physical manipulations n the cellular level. In the military, we have several subspecialties such as defense, attack, cyber, particle, chemical, biological, and nuclear, all being controlled by electronic deployment systems. Agriculture is a major concern, where systems for increasing efficiency of irrigation and even trying to control climates through weather treatment.
The list goes on and on, but what is common in these specific areas that I have discussed (rather than others) is that all of them are controllable through electronics and as such, will one day be a part of a global network that controls every aspect of our lives.
CES 2019 will provide us with some interesting developments, as to be expected, but will they take an exponential leap?
The first CES started in June 1967, which was well before the IT industry existed. The timeline of Apple developments from 1976 till 2018 is 575 lines long, it can be used as a reference for advances in IT.
Link to Apple time line here.
Notice in the timeline table how over time, the models discontinued quicker, as technological innovations made older versions obsolete. The reason for changing a device was no longer based on malfunction or damage, but on performance and upgrades, not in years but sometimes measured in months. Based on the increasing frequency in change, it is possible that in the future we will find some devices becoming obsolete every month!