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.

"M.G. Michael and Katina Michael (2010) describe this "carceral" phase of power relations with the concept of "uberveillance"- "the sum total of all types of surveillance and the deliberate integration of an individual's personal data for the continuous tracking and monitoring of identity and location in real time" (10). Under the digital conditions of "uberveillance," therefore, mobile tracking is most usefully viewed both as a new experiment in power enforcement and as one of the spatial designs of power in the wireless world of "flows." Elliot and Urry (2010) depict this "uberveillant phase" as a digital "Orwellianization" of self and society, in which there is essentially no movement without digital tracing or tracking" (150)."

Kwang-Suk Lee (2012) IT Development in Korea: A Broadband Nirvana? Routledge. 



Thanks KMA.

Yet more evidence that online MMRPG games are about more than just havin' fun.

But beyond the privacy concerns there are real concerns for physical harm as I noted in a Conversation piece last year.

 

This from a user:

"Well, one of biggest the dangers of Ingress is driving or stepping into harm's way while playing the game, and I know of at least one nasty car accident. And then there is the risk of losing your job or relationship or use of your thumb due to its addictive properties..."

Of course- we augment more than we can cope with and we might end up dead. 

Question: anyone want to talk about liability?

Source here

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  • "Yandex's acquisition KitLocate is ushering in an era in which mobile location-based services aren't turn-on-turn-off, but rather are always on.
  • This has huge implications for mobile technology and for upcoming M&A.
  • Technology vendors and venture funds should keep their eyes on other companies with pervasive location technology."
"When you know where you were when something happened, you can usually infer or remember a  tremendous amount of related things about that experience, which makes the data secondary, and the experience primary."   Shane Luke, CPO, Recon"

"When you know where you were when something happened, you can usually infer or remember a 
tremendous amount of related things about that experience, which makes the data secondary, and the experience primary." 

Shane Luke, CPO, Recon"

Read more

Recon Instruments’ first product to hit the market was Transcend in October 2010. Transcend are the world’s first alpine goggles with GPS data viewable through a head mounted display providing real-time feedback to the user including speed, latitude/longitude, altitude, vertical distance travelled, total distance travelled, chrono/stopwatch mode, a run-counter, temperature and time. It is also the only pair of goggles that link to a post-processing software, Recon HQ and an online sharing community HQ Online. Here users can playback, re-live and analyze not only their stats on Recon HQ but others’ on HQ Online where the user’s runs and highlights are overlaid on satellite imagery.

Recon Instruments’ first product to hit the market was Transcend in October 2010. Transcend are the world’s first alpine goggles with GPS data viewable through a head mounted display providing real-time feedback to the user including speed, latitude/longitude, altitude, vertical distance travelled, total distance travelled, chrono/stopwatch mode, a run-counter, temperature and time. It is also the only pair of goggles that link to a post-processing software, Recon HQ and an online sharing community HQ Online. Here users can playback, re-live and analyze not only their stats on Recon HQ but others’ on HQ Online where the user’s runs and highlights are overlaid on satellite imagery.

Mobile devices and wearable technology are redefining the phrase "personal computer" - no longer conjuring up thoughts of desktop or even laptop devices, but rather devices smaller - and more powerful - than many ever dreamed possible. The mobile phone in your hand - the one that has more computing performance than a 1979 Cray Supercomputer - is quickly being transformed into a mesh of wearable devices, allowing you remain connected 24x7 and throw off more private data than ever.

With the rise of mobile and wearable tech comes the ability for services providers, their partners and, well, just about anybody with a few dollars, to track where you are, what you are doing, who you are doing it with, where you've been and how quickly you're likely to be doing it again at your next "habitual" destination. Oh, and the likely route you are going to take.

Issues abound: what really differentiates mobile devices from wearable tech, and how are their privacy issues different? Why are we being pushed into an always-on/always-tracked society, and what is this data likely to reveal about ourselves over time?

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Courtesy: Locaid

Courtesy: Locaid

"The technology for verifying whether a person can legally gamble in a particular location is important. States have to verify whether a gambler is within state borders or not, given the variation in online gambling laws in the U.S. If a player cannot legally gamble where they are and the provider cannot verify that location, the result will be a higher cost for the online gambling site and lost credibility with regulators.
Gerber said the technology is spoof proof because it relies on multiple methods for verifying location. One technology is server-based, where the firm uses triangulation. It gets a fix on a cell phone by figuring out where it is relative to multiple cell phone towers in the area. Cell phones always seeks out the nearest tower. Locaid also checks with a Wi-Fi service provider about the location of a user on its network, and it checks the Internet protocol (IP) address of the user. If all of those methods show that the user is within the borders of a state that provides online gambling, then it tells the provider that it’s OK to offer gambling services to that player.
“The location data we provide is the only one that can’t be spoofed,” Gerber said. “In cities with concentrated towers, it can get to within 5-feet accuracy range.”
But to provide those services in the gambling industry, Locaid has to show it is a legitimate company, so it had to provide about six inches of paperwork vouching for the company and its executives, Gerber said. Three states have passed laws permitting some form of online gambling, and other states, such as California, are considering bills to approve online gambling. At some point, Gerber said, his company will have a real market for its “location-as-a-service” business."


Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2013/08/13/locaid-aims-to-provide-precise-locations-for-online-gambling-services/#h54V5caCcA50YBo1.99