Wednesday 22 August 2012

Road - Big Brother

When man first invented the wheel and the sail, followed by electricity and the steam engine, it heralded a new age of technology being harnessed as a slave to the masses. Methinks the pendulum has now swung the other way, and we are becoming slaves to technology.

The majority of us are now unable to leave home without smartphone, tablet, SatNav and credit card. They have become as essential a part of modern life as a bottle of Highland Spring and a salad sandwich, or a cup of tea and a roll and square sausage with a potato scone and brown sauce.

We might think that we now live in a free and democratic society, but Big Brother is out there, and he’s watching, tracking and checking up on all of us.

Although GPS devices which can measure acceleration, deceleration and sideways g-forces are available, that same technology is now being built into mobile phones.

Young drivers are being urged by insurance companies to use this technology to reduce their insurance premiums. Not only will the insurance company know where you are and when, but how long it took to get there and how many near-misses you had on the way!

Taking that a stage further, a software company has devised an algorithm which will predict what human beings are going to do based on past activity recorded by their smartphones using a combination of their GPS positions and ‘Contact List’ of friends. By monitoring text messages and phone calls, the software can establish regular patterns and make predictions, so a person of regular habits will be easy to track.

Just imagine what Maw, Paw and the Polis could do with that – or the wife!

Maybe Robinson Crusoe had the right idea after all – or maybe not, the spy satellites are watching us too.

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