The Conversation

The Apple Watch heralds a brave new world of digital living

Katina Michael, University of Wollongong and MG Michael, University of Wollongong

“The Watch is here” touts Apple’s slogan for its wearable computer, implying that the one and only time-piece that really matters has arrived. So much for the Rolex Cosmograph and Seiko Astron when you can buy a stylish digital Apple Watch Sport, or even Apple Watch Edition crafted with 18-karat gold.

If we believe the hype, one in four Australians plan to buy a wearable device by the end of the year.

Of its many features and functions, the Apple Watch is a music player, fitness tracker, communications device, payment token and digital key. And it also tells the time. We were surprised that no one claimed that it will also help look after our kids. But not for long. There’s an app for that. So is there anything this device cannot do?

Who would have thought that the power of an internet-enabled laptop computer, mobile phone, iPod, fitness tracker, bank card and set of keys could be neatly packaged and strapped around your wrist?

And unlike other futuristic visions of hand-held communicators, the Apple Watch won’t leave you stranded in perilous situations because it’s dropped, stolen or falls out of range because it’s literally always connected to you.

It has arrived! Apple

Invisible ubiquity

This raises a key question: how will we change our behaviour based on the fact that we are walking around with a fully-fledged computer – one that sits in contact with our bodies and communicates wirelessly with machines around us without us being explicitly aware of it?

According to the marketing spiel, we’ll have a lot more convenience at our fingertips. But, in actuality, we may find ourselves reaching for the mute button, longing to be disconnected, and fed up with all the notifications interrupting us. That’s when the novelty effect wears off.

We have probably witnessed people who cannot resist the urge of pulling out their mobile phone to interact with it at the most inopportune times or who pass their idle time simply looking down at a screen.

Most do not realise they are even interacting with their personal computer devices for hours each day. The repetitive behaviour has almost become a type of tic disorder which is neurobehavioural.

We get a message, it makes us feel important. We reply and get a buzz the very next time it happens again. It’s kind of like digital ping pong. And the game can get tangible fast. The main reason this repetitive behaviour remains hidden is that the majority of smartphone users suffer from this, so it looks normal.

You can see people in public spaces immersed in virtual places. These Wi-Fi-enabled mobile contraptions can also trigger a host of internet-related addictions, whether used for gaming, answering mail, web surfing, online transactions, social media, we-chatting, or taking a tonne of photographs.

A typical day at the shopping centre.

According to experts, internet addiction disorder (IAD) can ruin lives by causing neurological complications, psychological disturbances and social problems. This is not to mention the potential for accidents when people are not looking where they are going or not paying attention to what they should be doing. In short, our need to be always online and connected has become a kind of cybernarcotic drug.

China’s ‘Web Junkies’: Internet addiction documentary (New York Times).

Little device, big data

Very few of us are immune to this yearning for “feedback loops”, so telecommunications operators and service providers pounce on this response. Information is money. And while we are busy interacting with our device, the companies are busy pocketing big money using our big data.

We are fast becoming a piece of digital information ourselves, sold to the highest bidder. And while we are busy rating ourselves and one another, the technology companies are not only using our ratings to learn more about our preferences and sentiments, but rating us as humans. In sociological terms it’s called social sorting, and in policing terms it’s called proactive profiling.

In days gone by, mobile communications could tell data collectors about our identity, location, even our condition. This is not new. But the real-time access and precision of this level of granularity of data gathered is something we should be all aware of as potentially impinging on our fundamental human rights.

Because they interface directly with the human body, watches have the capacity to tell a third party much more about you than just where you’ve been and where you are likely to be going. They can:

  • Detect physiological characteristics like your pulse rate, heart rate, temperature which can say a lot about your home/work/life habits

  • Determine time, distance, speed and altitude information derived from onboard sensors

  • Identify which apps you are using and how and why you are using them, minute by minute

  • Oversee the kinds of questions you are asking via search engines and text-based messages you are sending via social media.

Apple watcher

These watches will become integral to the fulfilment of the Internet of Things phenomenon: the ability to be connected to everyone and everything.

All in all, private corporations can glean what you are thinking, the problems you are facing, and they know your personal context. What is disturbing is that they can divulge some of your innermost personal thoughts, intentions and actions, and have evidence for the reasons we do things.

Many people immersed in the virtual world are too busy to be thinking about the very act of inputting information onto the internet. People value a life of convenience over privacy too much to be genuinely concerned what information is being logged by a company and shared with hundreds of other potential partners and affiliates.

And consumers are often oblivious to the fact that, even if they are doing nothing at all, the smart device they are carrying or wearing is creating a type of digital DNA about their uniqueness.

Today, we are asking to be monitored and are partying in the panopticon. We have fallen in love with the idea of being told about ourselves and don’t discern that we have become like prison inmates who are being tracked with electronic bracelets.

By the time we wake up to this technological trajectory, it may be all too late. Our health insurance provider might be Samsung, our telecoms provider may be Google, and our unique lifetime identifier could come from Apple. At present, these are the archetypal tech providers. But tomorrow, who knows?

There is no shortage of wearable devices these days that can track and log vast amounts of data about your activities.

And by that time, we will likely be heralding in the age of uberveillance where we posit that cellphones and wristwatches are not enough, that the human-computer interface should go deeper, penetrating the skin and into the body.

The new slogan might read “The Mark is Here”, herald the iPlant, that which gives birth to life, the one and only passport to access your forever services.

“You can’t live without it”, may soon no longer be just figurative, but a reality.

Katina Michael is Associate Professor, School of Information Systems and Technology at University of Wollongong.
MG Michael is Honorary Associate Professor, School of Information Systems and Technology at University of Wollongong.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

"You're at the Westin Grand in Berlin having a luxurious vacation. After finishing a delicious bowl of mushroom consommé -- chanterelles are in season, after all -- you stroll up the lavish center staircase toward your room. Having left wallets in the past, you simply hover your Apple Watch over the door. "Click!" And that's that. Magnetic plastic cards are so uncivilized.

This is the future Apple imagines for you with its new Watch, and it's working with Starwood Hotels (the group that owns Westin, among others) to make that future a reality. And that's just one of several scenarios for Apple Watch that were introduced by Apple VP Kevin Lynch during a third-party app demo on stage in Cupertino, California."

"Beyond Starwood, American Airlines is also working on Apple Watch -- both are usingWatchKit, the software toolkit Apple built for third-party app development. The specific context wasn't given for its use with American, but one can easily imagine using Apple Watch as your electronic boarding pass."

Read more

 http://www.engadget.com/2014/09/09/apple-watch-apps/

http://www.engadget.com/2014/09/09/apple-watch-apps/

 http://www.tuaw.com/2014/04/30/kwikset-kevo-using-your-iphone-to-lock-and-unlock-doors/

http://www.tuaw.com/2014/04/30/kwikset-kevo-using-your-iphone-to-lock-and-unlock-doors/

 http://www.tuaw.com/2014/04/30/kwikset-kevo-using-your-iphone-to-lock-and-unlock-doors/

http://www.tuaw.com/2014/04/30/kwikset-kevo-using-your-iphone-to-lock-and-unlock-doors/

 http://www.tuaw.com/2014/04/30/kwikset-kevo-using-your-iphone-to-lock-and-unlock-doors/

http://www.tuaw.com/2014/04/30/kwikset-kevo-using-your-iphone-to-lock-and-unlock-doors/

 Source: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/bigideas/stories/2014/09/04/4081183.htm

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/bigideas/stories/2014/09/04/4081183.htm

 Source: http://www.iq2oz.com/debates/we-are-becoming-enslaved-by-our-technology-/

Source: http://www.iq2oz.com/debates/we-are-becoming-enslaved-by-our-technology-/

 Source: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/enslaved-by-our-technology3f/5598912

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/enslaved-by-our-technology3f/5598912

 Source: http://www.acola.org.au/index.php/news/70-we-are-becoming-enslaved-by-our-technology

Source: http://www.acola.org.au/index.php/news/70-we-are-becoming-enslaved-by-our-technology

"I shoot with my cellphone because it is like a periscope, allowing me to stare without being noticed. I look like everyone else who is texting, Web surfing or checking messages.

I also use my cellphone because it feels right to employ a ubiquitous 21st-century tool to record 21st-century city dwellers. Almost all of us have one, and for all I know, someone is recording me right now, as I write these words on my laptop at a small outdoor cafe (under the gaze of a surveillance camera)."

Read more here

 Courtesy: Wendy Richmond

Courtesy: Wendy Richmond


In 2010, MG Michael and I began to write a book chapter for Jeremy Pitt of Imperial College London where we referred to the ultimate sensor-- the iPlant. See: http://works.bepress.com/kmichael/228/ titled: "Implementing Namebers Using Microchip Implants: The Black Box Beneath The Skin" which appeared in This Pervasive Day.

iDermal (video below) seems to be conveying the idea of a "contactable" human-computer interface. This is where the skin becomes the interface for digital technology.

Having studied the domain of smart cards in relation to automatic teller machines (ATMs) this video brought back some very interesting allusions. Note the FOUR contact points being made here by the body-modder to facilitate wearability. Is that the future we are to ponder? Is that the "jack in" we are to expect with emerging applications and services? The comments that bloggers have upload are extremely pertinent. One of these reads:

"Liz Vaughn - 2 weeks ago
What an idiot! As a piercer he should realize the damage that A- putting something that can't be thoroughly sterilized and B- the weight of something like that, can do to any fresh piercing, let alone sub anchors. Ugh. It's also illegal in several states (including NJ) to use a biopsy punch."

This comment is preceded by this one:

          "Courtney Hart - 4 months ago
Guys! Calm down! I was at Dynasty Tattoo today to get pierced by Dave and he doesn't have the iDermal in anymore. He simply wanted to create a "strapless watch" and invent a new body modification. He had no intention to keep it I'm sure so everyone just calm down. He's an Awesome , social, and funny guy, and I will definitely be going back to him."
 Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKVNVoBScFA

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKVNVoBScFA

Transient
Transient
 Source: Dave Hurban

Source: Dave Hurban

Some of you might find the following image of interest- it was created by Michael, Michael & Abbas in 2009 and adapted by Michael, Michael & Perakslis in 2013. Note the lowest common denominator of tracking is the sensor view that MG Michael and I dubbed "iPlant".

drone to sensor.gif

The word "iPlant" was chosen as the preferred term for an implantable device having studied both Apple's and NTT Docomo's former product line. E.g. i-mode, i-appli, i-area, i-channel, iD; and Apple's including iTunes, iPod, iLife, iSight, iWork, iPhone, iPad. The collage (see below) was created for the FET11 conference: http://works.bepress.com/kmichael/220/ titled: "Heaven and Hell: Visions for Pervasive Adaptation".

docomo apple.jpg


Transient

"The NSW Government has announced a $4 million rollout of military-style "body cams" - lightweight, miniature video cameras clipped to uniforms, helmets or vehicles - to record evidence during incidents.

A spokeswoman for WA Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said cameras were already used in WA by motorcycle patrol officers, who often worked alone, and in advance-traffic management vehicles. She said Mr O'Callaghan had considered body cameras being used more broadly by WA Police officers but hinted at a cost-benefit analysis before any final decision.

"The value of using body cams for more routine police work has to be weighed against the cost of maintaining a system for recording, storage and retrieval of thousands of gigabytes of data and the complexity of maintaining security protocols around access," she said."

Read more here

Read more here by Hayley Tsukayama

"It's a Wednesday night, and I'm turning heads on the sidewalk. People are slowing halfway down the block as I approach. They're whispering about me as I walk through the room. Strangers are watching me, sometimes even stopping me on the street.

Why? Because I'm wearing Google Glass. And I hate it.

I shouldn't feel this way. I like new technology -- I've been a tech reporter at The Washington Post for more than three years. And I admire the vision of technology that Google promises Glass can offer: a device that lets you keep track of e-mails, texts and other messages in a seamless way -- all through a screen that's perched just over your right eye."

 Courtesy: Getty

Courtesy: Getty

"Cohen, himself dressed smartly for the occasion in red shoes and oversized red glasses, led us on a tour of the latest in wearable surveillance technology, including Google Glass, fully functional button cameras, and radio frequency identification (RFID) chips that can be woven into our clothing.

Cohen drew an analogy with Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, where the action takes place in two locales: Venice itself, a hotbed of commerce and greed; and nearby Belmont, the refuge to which the protagonists escape for love and art. Smart clothes threaten to "disrupt the place of refuge," even when we leave our phones behind. "At some point we squeeze out the space for living a life," he warned. "Lots of people have things they want to do and try but wouldn't if everything was archived."

MORE: What the Comcast-Time Warner deal says about the future of media

Can the law protect us? We shouldn't count on it, Cohen thinks, given that "most acts of private surveillance will never be detected, and therefore will likely never have a legal claim." He'd rather see business take the lead and bake privacy protection right into the technology -- so-called West Coast Code, devised and implemented in Silicon Valley, as opposed to East Coast Code, or laws made in Washington.

But then we have to trust the companies. Are we optimistic? "I'm not," Cohen admitted."

Article by Whitford for CNN Money (Fortune). Read more here

We're moving closer to the ultimate ID... it not only moves with you, but will be in you.

"Called the Fly6, it is a combination video camera and flashing rear light that promises to make riders more visible while recording what happens behind them. It is fitted to the bike's seat post.

The inventors say it could also help to determine who is responsible when a motor vehicle hits a bicycle from behind – one of the most common causes of serious injury or death among cyclists."

Transient

For the full article visit here

Posted
AuthorKatina Michael

 

Thought experiment.

Taking everything you know about the world of computers, the history of screen experience and the trajectory of emerging technologies—say with Google Glass, for example—combined with this culture’s love affair with instant gratification, recording, surveillance, narcissism, and control; what could one be left looking at?

The Entire History of You explores some of these ideas in a world where most people have an implant behind their ear called a ‘grain’ which records everything they do, see and hear. Memories can be played back either in front of the person’s eyes or on a screen—a process known as a ‘re-do.’

Nothing is off limits. Everything is recorded, archived, and scrutinised.

Scrutiny comes to social events too. ‘Re-dos’ are done with friends and family, analogous to the current culture of social media ‘sharing’ and the solipsistic sense of self lived vicariously through screens.

In this world—and of our own—what are the myriad personal, interpersonal and social implications? What do the profound repercussions for relationships and even individual existential experience look like?

The Entire History of You is part of a series of films called Black Mirror which explore different aspects of “the way we live now—and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we're clumsy.”

More to come...

Compare these scenes from Enemy of the State (1998) with the video posted by Katina Michael on Communications of the ACM regarding the limits of watching.

"We're there now!"  

 A scene from  Enemy of the State  (1998)

A scene from Enemy of the State (1998)

 A scene from  Enemy of the State   (1998)

A scene from Enemy of the State  (1998)

Now read this article on the limits of watching by Katina and MG Michael (2013) and watch the following report as an addendum to the article.

 Covert HD Audio-Visual Recording Pen purchased in 2011

Covert HD Audio-Visual Recording Pen purchased in 2011