Big Brother is Watching… and Bored Out of His Mind

I recently read a post that describes some new location-tracking features coming soon to the next iPhone operating system, iOS 7 (which is still in beta). Location tracking isn’t new, but these features apparently keep track of where you go, and eventually figure out where home, work, and other places you frequent are, and how long it will take you to get there. Even that isn’t entirely new (iPhones and Android phones using “Google Now” have had some similar functions for a while), but the article discusses some new ways it might be used. The actual substance of the article was interesting enough (discussing stuff like how your iPhone might warn you that you’re running late to work based on its calculation of travel time between where you are now, and there). But even more interesting, to me, was reading an article on a tech-oriented blog talking about location-tracking services that wasn’t all “ZOMG! YOUR PHONE IS TRACKING YOU, AND TRACKING IS EVIL, BECAUSE SOMEHOW YOU SHOULD BE EXPECTING TO BE ABLE TO USE STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY MAINTAINING AN OFF-THE-GRID LEVEL OF PRIVACY THE UNABOMBER WOULD ENVY!!!” Instead, this particular piece posits that the new capability is potentially “awesome” and explicitly refutes the notion that your phone knowing where you are is inherently evil:

When Google started correlating searches and locations with Google Now in late 2012, pundits called the service creepy, which is certainly how some users may feel about the IOS 7 frequent locations feature, but if Apple leverages it right it’s going to be pretty awesome.

So this post hits the other extreme from the tinfoil-hat-wearing Luddite extreme, asserting that these tracking functions will be “awesome.” As with life, however, the truth probably lies somewhere between the extremes.

For example, once my iPhone starts keeping track of my locations, it’s going to get pretty bored pretty quickly:

  • Home
  • Drop son off at daycare
  • Work
  • Pick son up from daycare
  • Home
  • Drop son off at daycare
  • Work
  • Pick son up from daycare
  • Home
  • Drop son off at daycare
  • Work
  • Pick son up from daycare
  • Home
  • Grocery store
  • Home

… and so on. At some point, Siri will probably spontaneously activate and say “holy shit, are you ever lame!!” Instead of telling me how long it will take to get from home to work, or work to home, my phone will probably suggest a few hobbies, or that I try getting out more (“Get a life: there’s an app for that!”). So, probably somewhere short of awesome, in other words. But at the same time, I’m hardly worried about secret black-helicopter-riding government agents, either.

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About Geoff Brown

Husband, father, lawyer, writer, cat wrangler, dog warden, occasional video gamer.
This entry was posted in Humor, Tech and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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