Perhaps it’s paranoia but I’m not on board with the recent smart watch trend.
My concerns don’t stem from an anti-Apple mentality in particular, as Samsung recently released a new smart watch, Google Glass has gotten more publicity lately, and wearable technology is not all that new.
Society’s quick acclimation to new technology does not mean the average consumer is becoming more knowledgeable about the devices they buy. Actually, it’s often the opposite, with highly advanced and complex technology being manufactured in a way that is user-friendly. This eliminates most of the learning curve when it comes to integrating the technology into one’s lifestyle, which means that once a person is comfortable with using a device, they tend to forget that the device is using them.
Since technology has advanced at an increasing rate each year, technology goes out of style before it becomes truly outdated.
Wearable technology carries the connotation of a device that integrates fashion-forward with forward thinking. The aesthetic appeal of devices is imperative when it comes to a consumer base that lives with a constant barrage of advertisements.
The point of advertising is not only to highlight the features that will entice the customer, but also to downplay or obscure any negative associations with the product. The thing is, with the advanced nature of technology, data collection can be used either for the benefit of the consumer or against their best interests.
Data collection can range from innocent and anonymous, to personal and corruptible. For example, it is well known that there are mobile applications that can act as a universal remote, which can control household appliances, light switches and other devices with the connective capability.
If a thermostat can be controlled remotely from an app on a smart watch, this could also be used to track times that a house is usually empty, through which times the thermostat was shut off. The same danger could apply to electronic devices like a television, or to light switches.
The electricity savings could outweigh the risks, and a security system could prevent intruders from taking advantage of this knowledge. Still, it isn’t common criminals that are most likely to take advantage of users of wearable devices. Those who likely benefit the most from the ability to mine the vast amount of data about an individual that a wearable could provide are those that sell them in the first place.
The positive uses are what is marketed to the consumer, who is under the impression that they are optimizing and improving their daily lives through new technology.
In reality, it is the products that are improved, through information accessible by analyzing a consumer’s life.