Meet the future – he's called Steve

picture of tin foil hat
tin foil hat time

I’ve  just come across IBM’s 5 in 5 predictions for the next five years. A neat idea where they share their vision of in the future “everything will learn” and how their cognitive,cloud based systems will impact on five key areas:

I have really mixed feelings about all of this. On the one hand,it is really exciting to see what would be deemed Star Trek technology actually becoming part of our daily lives.  But on the other, particularly with the emphasis on big data and intelligent systems I am have some serious concerns about data ownership and use.  Particularly by the digital guardian prediction,  who in the accompanying video is turned into a ‘Men in Black’ type security agent, called Steve. Steve knows my habits so well he can predict my every move and detect any abnormal behaviour in my spending habits and so for example notify me of any abnormal behaviour in my bank account and so prevent online banking fraud.  Hmm . . . actually I think even Steve might be a tad confused by my shopping habits but that’s another story.

So “the system” will keep me safe and secure. But who owns the system? What else are they going to do with my data? Who else will have access to it ? How can I set my privacy and notification levels? Who pays for all this? Who really benefits?  The banks and business who want to know us all better to sell us more stuff personalise our everyday experiences? I’m not convinced it is such an obvious win win situation.  I’m afraid this vision makes me want to put on my tin foil hat and not engage with the system the answers to these questions are more transparent.

Or as Mark Power put it (feel free to sing this part)

@sheilmcn “It sees you when you’re sleeping. It knows when you’re awake…IBM Digital Guardian is coming…to toooown” #festive #tinfoil — Mark Power (@markpower) December 18, 2013