Share and share alike
This, at least, is the theory; and it’s worth noting that this theory depends upon both the constant presence of an internet connection and the conversion of our sartorial accessories into a kind of always-on electronic ID. None of which will be cheering to those concerned about privacy, unintended consequences – or the special species of stupidity that, as I argued in this column last month, can apply to the proliferation of “smart” systems.
Yet I suspect these hurdles will be overcome – with or without Apple. “Technology,” as the American author and academic Sherry Turkle once wrote, “is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities”; and the kind of ease on offer here is more seductive than most.
Think of how social networks have already become a kind of second self for so many of us. The rewards for success, on both the user and creator sides of the equation, are simply too great. No matter how great the reservations in some quarters, we’re not far distant from a future in which apps and devices become as much a unique part of us, in the eyes of the world, as our haircuts or glasses.
Humanity, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, can resist anything except temptation. Yet before we gratefully submit and slip on the next generation of wearable devices, it’s worth reflecting on the fine line between creating technologies that reflect our lives and technologies that control them.
I love my phone dearly, but I’m not sure quite how far I trust it – and its creators – with everything it already knows about me, let alone giving it unfettered access to my heart rate, blood type and beverage preferences. If these visions come to pass, some of us may yet discover that there’s only so much of ourselves we’re prepared to share.
Image courtesy of Pavel Simeonov