This is the English translation of the article published on September
21th 2014 here. Indeed the
same points touched by the article apply for others brands of device capable of
listening to the body, record and transmit data. But I think that Apple has the
capacity to spread it out like an object of desire, perhaps like a jewel. Then,
allow me some silly and hopefully entertaining considerations about the future
that awaits these wearable not-privacy enhanced technologies.
Apple has begun to advertise on his site the Watch, a device shaped like a wrist-watch that will come out in 2015. Considering the crowds of Sybarites who huddled and lined up to buy the latest mobile, even that such article costs a considerable sum, I think it is worthwhile to make a few early considerations early about the object, because it is a technological innovation with social repercussions.
From the presentation page of the Apple Watch, under the technical specifications: "[...] a specially designed sensor that uses infrared and visible-light Led's and photodiodes to detect your heart rate during workouts and when using the Heart Rate Glance. This allows Apple Watch to provide a comprehensive picture of your workouts and daily activity [...]".
It is not a watch, but it's a computer leaning against the body, that listens and monitors the body. The new iWatch is presented with the fallen of the proven formula of the "i" in front, used by Apple from iMac onward and that aims to capture the market of health-tech. It is the extension of a device, the Apple smart phone, with which it communicates via bluetooth. The device will also be able to give information about time, weather and messages received. What makes it innovative is the ability to measure heartbeats. It is presented as a tool for amateur athletes, who can measure their performance by comparing the time it takes to travel a given distance with the effort consumed, it will be able to store these data and compare them with those of friends or competitors.
This is not the only possible functionality, a tool that can listen to the pulse permits the user to submit to a doctor a history of his own heart in form of a log, allowing more accurate diagnoses. Any person having or that had heart problems will have a natural benefit from the ability to monitor himself.
The Watch is able to know if a person is alive or dead, notices the changes in heart rate and therefore it can claim itself to be a tool to monitor the elderly and lonely people, surpassing the Gps elderly tracking system.
The human heartbeat is related to changes in mood and emotions, combining this information with geo-localization, address, time of the day and knowledge of the type of activity going on, it is conceivable that a space for new systems of profiling users is being created. There will be no need to ask if they liked the movie they just have seen at the theater, or if they are frightened by the increased life insurance policy, or if they are still in love, or they understand the news on Tv, perhaps also the feeling that give that advertising or that political supported message.
Being able to know and to communicate the status of the vital functions of the person wearing it, and the address where he is, that Watch also represent a useful tool for social control, such as of an apprehensive parent that wants to know that their children are in no danger and can be reached anytime while away from his sight. A double tap on the icon of the contact person will procure a flip of the wrist. To say: I'm thinking at you. I like you. Are you okay? Back home in a hurry that dinner is ready. Be seeing you.
A formidable tool for market research, essential for the health care of people at risk, very useful for those who are commited to physical activity, willing and able to control and monitor. I am talking about athletes, people with a health condition, the elderly, lonely people and children. Missing someone? There are all the prerequisites for Apple's entry into the bio-metric being a success. Competitors will follow as soon as the bio-legal conditions permit, Google and Facebook already know too much about their customers to afford to dive now into bio-metrics, the task of opening the road is delegated to the innovative Apple and its refined public of the hegemonic class.
A body measurement tool perpetually connected to the network is something that George Orwell could not have imagined in its practical implementation, but surely it could not have assumed the perversion to leave the economic burden on the individual who is being monitored. The electronic bracelet is not a punishment for the deviant of the norm, but a very expensive object, which represents the status of belonging to the social elite. You have to show quite some cash to prove belonging to the class, it doesn't come for free.
Speculations: It is possible that in the future life insurance companies will offers discounts for those who give availabilty to their body's aggregated data? Sentimental meetings will be preceded by an exchange of data in safe verification of good health? Absence of Mst and goodness of transmittable genes? Data are a commodity.
An object who saves lives. A Life as a subordinate. The positivities are significant and also the social utility, then the objects that interact with the body will spread widening his area of action. In the future it may for example monitor the level of acidity of sweat and extend the possibility of diagnosis.
The authorities, while trying always lesser punitive ways to prevent problems, will definitely be interested in the opportunity to learn about the emotional and physical state of the population they need to protect. Here we could have the car that will not start if the watch does not waive the ok to ensures that the driver is sober. You will need to remove the watch -log off of the system- to take drugs without a prescription without being noticed, and must wait to be sober again before putting it back on. Conceivably there will be a "mute" function that only those who can afford to increase the bonus / malus of his life will use, because disconnect from the system will be risky and expensive as privacy is.
A little of sci-fi: The next step could be to allow the watch not only to listen, but also to communicate with the body, as a permanent flebo, for example by providing insulin to a diabetic when required without the need of his intervention. The same thing could be done for anxiolytics and tranquilizers, but in this case the name of the futurable object will be iSoma the anti-anomic.