Technology once you get familiar with it becomes invisible. Many of everyday activities leverage on technology that we don’t see or don’t perceive. As we move around we generate data. Even the fact that we might not generate data is … a data. And these data are becoming a sort of digital shadow that tells a lot about us.
The interplay of atoms and bits is now continuous. As I shown in previous posts you can observe an aircraft flying six miles above you and an application can provide you with the identity of the plane, where it took off and where it is flying to, its speed, its altitude. You can take a photo of a boarding pass of a nearby passenger at the airport and by sending it to a QR code decoder on the web you can get info on the flights he has already booked with that airline company and much more. You can pick up the GPS coordinates of the exact spot where a person snapped a photo and by searching the web after a few days you are likely to find information on that person by searching for a photo taken at that time of the day at that place.
You can even look at the face of a nearby person with a special app and see how his heart is beating… and much more.
Notice that we have just begun. As the first stumbling block will become smaller and smaller thus letting more and more people to become seamlessly part of the cyberspace, the lack of perception of this parallel world will create more and more problems.
We are not culturally prepared to live in a bit world, in a data economy. And our capacity to digest the implication of the cyberspace on our life, on business and on Society is increasing at a slower pace than the increase of digitalization.
Most of the people I am talking to are not aware of the existence of a digital shadow. Nor of its implication.
This is a real challenge that Society is facing.
Youngster are at ease in the cyberspace but by large they do not understand the implication of being in the cyberspace. HR department are checking on the web prospective hire. In a short while you’ll walk into a restaurant and the waiter will call you by name, even though you have never been into that restaurant before (the magic of face recognition). A shop clerk will likely know what you are likely to like the very first time you enter the shop. Profiling will be a real time service provided by some web service.
And those that are more at ease in the cyberspace, that surf the web, post their images, tweet their thoughts are the ones that will “suffer” the most.
A lot of head scratching awaits regulators as well as “educators”.