To The Digital Future And Beyond

To The Digital Future And Beyond

It’s the last stage of the Squared course – 6 months down the line almost and there’s been quite a few eye openers along the way.

Whilst the course has been underway I’ve also had the pleasure of attending a few search marketing conferences, one of which was SASCON in Manchester in June.  There was an excellent array of speakers and a couple of them touched on the future and the ‘internet of things’ .

Jeff Coghlan, MD of Matmi, which are a company who do some amazing things with Gamification, was particularly interesting.

Matmi are arguably well ahead of their time when it comes to the eye-popping things they’re doing with augmented reality and marketing, particularly the work that they showed us at the conference with ‘The Smiler’ from Alton Towers.

Jeff’s always a great watch.  He’s a proud geek (but aren’t they the most interesting folks in the world anyway :)).  He comes across as a bit zany, but in a really entertaining and pleasant way (a kind of ‘what’s he going to do next, on the edge of your seat kind of way), but he’s totally switched on to what’s happening out there on the web and the futuristic world into which we’re headed.

A couple of the speakers touched on virtual reality and what’s happening with Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR, a headset device which produces almost life like virtual reality.  It was theorised that players connected to devices such as these will get lost and almost become ‘as one’ over time using devices such as these and almost live ‘second lives’ where they struggle to separate the line which breaks reality from virtual reality.

http://mashable.com/2014/04/23/facebook-oculus-acquisition-ftc/

As the mother of an avid (over-avid) twenty something year old gamer, I have to confess that this really does concern me.  It’s not that I’m being a misery, I just regret the day that I bought my son his first Sony Playstation, because it’s pretty much been his whole life since then, and I’d rather not lose him to a second life in a virtual world because of Sonic The Hedgehog and his pursuit of golden rings.

Where will it all end?

I can see a future where there’s a screen on every device possible in our home (to advertise pay per click adverts to us), (on the fridge door, the oven, screens in our cars (which will drive themselves if Google have their way).  Maybe even holograms in the corner of our lounge selling us something.  Sounds far fetched maybe, but Google’s acquisition of Nest, the home automation company and it’s recent announcement that Nest will allow access to it’s system via ‘third party products’ (API’s) ??, makes it sound all a little less bonkers I hope.

What’s to stop your home becoming alight with advertising platforms if all the devices are connected as part of the ‘internet of things’.

Wikipedia Definition: The Internet Of Things:

  1. a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.
    “if one thing can prevent the Internet of things from transforming the way we live and work, it will be a breakdown in security”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27981658

Our health will be monitored (via the wearable devices that are dished out to us such as contact lenses, glasses, watches, maybe even via the teeth that will no longer require drilling when we visit the dentist – there’s already chips in trainers via which we can check our heart rate and cholesterol levels and report back via an app.  Google is already developing contact lenses which have a tiny camera in them:

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-04/15/google-contact-lenses-cameras

Will Big Brother Be Watching?

That’s a debate that has started to boil with much thought that things have been taken a step too far, or are about to be when it comes to privacy and the lack of it that we’ve maybe unwittingly invited into our lives via our obsession with social media and our over-whelming child-like trust in cloud storage with our data.

There are calls via ‘Reset The Net’ to take privacy back – not just to ask for it, but to ‘take it back’.

The organisation asks visitors via their home page to sign the following petition:

“Mass surveillance is illegitimate. I’m taking steps to take my freedoms back and I expect governments and corporations to follow in my footsteps and take steps to stop all mass government surveillance.” After you sign, protect yourself here.

Reset The Net calls for visitors to take a small portion of the internet and understand / learn how to use encryption to keep that tiny section of the web as their own secret area, to protect their privacy as we head further into a connected age.

We’re travelling through technological advancements at such brake neck speed, and Silicon Valley are innovating beyond mobile devices now, into areas which one would have laughed at back in the 80’s when I was in my youth and playing on the Pac Man videos which Jeff Coghlan showed as part of his SASCON presentation.

You thought that ‘The Matrix’ and ‘The Minority Report’ were far-fetched…… But were they really?