The digital age continues to evolve, even as more advancements in tech aim specifically to make life easier for consumers. The next evolution appears to be around data—and, this time, it’s possible for you to follow your own data, instead of it always following you.
For example, have you ever had the desire to see an informative breakdown of your life and all its components? Are you curious how much time you’re spending doing non-essential tasks, or how much you are on social media? Thanks to smart devices and A.I., we can now see all that information, and potentially more, aggregated to our phones.
While concerns continue to arise about various company’s abilities to track and see what consumers are doing, people have proven themselves quick to give up access to personal information about their daily lives. Even with the increased awareness of how businesses monitor and use information about us, it has not deterred most of us from continuing to use sites and social media platforms that capture our information. If anything, there is a shrugging recognition that, “They have my data anyway,” and, therefore, “I might as well make the most of it.”
Take OrCam’s MyMe product for example. Once in use, MyMe captures pictures and videos of the user’s daily routine. Here is where the whole privacy concern comes in: the camera then uses facial recognition software to lock and track every face that you see throughout the day. It then uses that stored information to give a report at the end of the week to score your time with family and friends, versus time spent at work.
Clearly, this A.I. facial recognition software is extremely powerful, and its use in many biometric tools raises concerns of the technology falling into the wrong hands. Google is among a list of large companies that have told shareholders that they will not be distributing their software, as it has the potential to be used for malicious means. This is something we’ll be monitoring, as both acceptance and security are subject to change.
Phone companies have already been seeing facial biometric tools used by criminals and government authorities alike. For example, with access to a 3D printer, Android phones locked with face ID reportedly can be unlocked—just by printing a replica of the general shape of the owner’s face and head shape. Personal data stored locally on phones is seemingly not so safe after all.
As we purchase products that are meant to make our lives better, we may be sacrificing at least a degree of our privacy. As of now, however, we seem to be OK with the trade-off.