When is reality?
What’s science fiction and what’s reality? Or rather – when is something science fiction and when does it become real reality? RFID implants is something most people wouldn’t even dream of, but already in 1998 professor Kevin Warwick had a small glass tube with an RFID chip operated into his arm. Most people would still view that as something very far out, but last week office workers at an office hotel in Stockholm were offered the same; to unlock and open doors, to start a printer, etc.
Real-time translation and image overloading, where e.g. a sign is detected, translated and an overloaded image with a translated text has been mentioned and prototyped for some time, but the time from Sci Fi to reality have been really short. One alternative available since January 2015 is within the Google Translate app.
Automatic translation with direct image overloading. Soon in a wearable on you? Or in you?
(Image credit techcrunch.com)
This app also supports bidirectional audio translation, yet another invention from Sci Fi literature, in the form of the Babel Fish from the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book series.
Right now, wearables is beyond hype and going mainstream; but one for one there’s not too much in it, the real advantages comes from the ecosystems surrounding the wearables. And the ecosystems are in deer need of standardisation. But what’s needed for it to grow?
Perhaps when the wearables goes beyond being just a gadget and actually improves things; or improves you? When they trigger a better behaviour for e.g. physical training; measuring pulse and position is good for some, including myself, but for it to go beyond the early adopters and addressing the early majority, it needs to be simplified down to a level where it’s totally un-intrusive and automatic. But in order for it to be fully un-intrusive it might need to be physically very intrusive.
Like in implants; what more intrusion could you think of? Yet some people in Stockholm are “chipped” since some time. Beyond the pain and awkwardness the real doubts are dealing with privacy. If I have a chip in my hand to open a door, that chip could of course be read, analysed and quantified by whoever have the equipment.
SMAC + WASI (+IoT)
So what’s the next level of “personal computing”? Perhaps when the computing goes totally personal, as in being a part of you. Science Fiction? Yes, certainly now, but don’t expect it to stay Sci Fi for too long. Privacy issues have to be dealt with, but it haven’t stopped technology roll-outs that dig deep into people’s privacy yet. Likely it will just gradually go to the point where the Internet of Things include you, literally.