Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Privacy, Ambient Intelligence and ... Printers?

A few things I've come across worth sharing. 

We've spoken a lot in this space about 3D printing.  It has been speculated that the future is in printing agencies that take your design file and ship you the printed object.  I hadn't heard that Amazon opened a 3D printing service.  I'm a Prime member and while they contact me regularly to remind me I can look stream videos or listen to music, they have never said a word about this.  I thought their marketing was better than that.  The chances I'd be interested in a 3D print are many times more than the chance I'd be interested in a video. 

Back in my series on Privacy in Radio Communications, I did a unit that introduced the concepts of spread spectrum, information theory, and a lot of other important ideas.  If you're really interested in learning more hands on spread spectrum stuff, the complete text of an amateur radio introduction has been posted in pdf format.  Link courtesy of Sparks31 and an emailer whom I will leave anonymous.  (BTW, I re-read that series recently and still thought it was pretty decent).

I did a post on the Internet of Things recently.  In a recent email from a computer geek group called MakeUseOf, they posted a good article on "Ambient Intelligence".  AmI, as it's called, is either the end state of the IoT or just past that.  Picture the scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise's character is walking into a store and sees ads personalized for, and aimed at, only him, and multiply the privacy violation. 
This new paradigm is obviously powerful, but it also comes with its own risks and challenges.  As the devices in your world come to know your life in more detail, they also  come to know your life in more detail.  You might appreciate it if your technology automatically responds to an intimate moment by lowering the lights and changing the music, but you may be uncomfortable with the idea of a large corporation like Google knowing the when and where of your love life.
Do people really want privacy?  Or are they willing to sell it for "cool" and convenience.  As the author of that article commented:
If people really want privacy, market pressures will force someone to offer it, but my suspicion is that people won’t actually care as much about privacy as much as they say they do.

Guess we'll find out.  It's a brave, new world out there.

1 comment:

  1. Complete privacy is still available at a price. You just have to go through the conditions upon it to discover where it can be had:

    No cell phone.
    No interactive cable TV service.
    No "smart" electric meter.
    No use of online bill-paying services.
    No tracking cookies on the computer. Better yet, no use of the Internet.
    No credit cards.
    No neighbors.

    Hmmm, let's see...where do all those conditions apply simultaneously? Ah, I have it:


    Like cold weather?