Is the 'Future of Entertainment' Just Another Ploy to Breach Our Privacy?
Technology Articles 9/24/13
By: Sarah Wilson
If you've ever seen the Tom Cruise science fiction flick 'Minority Report,' then you know that movie-goers have already been introduced to the concept that the future may bring elite police and military units that have highly advanced methods of tracking people and dealing with crime. Some of the extreme equipment and tools that characters in the film used to bring criminals to justice involved a wearable and wireless progressive form of technology. In recent headlines, a startup company in Canada would like to use this same 'interface' style for product creating a lot of buzz within the entertainment industry.
Thalmic Labs has been working on supplying the world with electronic armbands called MYO, which integrates some of the same 'interface' style technology as seen in the 'Minority Report' and 'Iron Man' films. Some are saying that the product, which "measures electrical activity to detect fine movement from a wearer's arm" could represent the 'future of entertainment.'
In addition to initial seed money received for the project, Thalmic Labs was also able to successfully raise $14.5 million to make sure the final armband meets expectations, and there are certainly plenty of people who are waiting to see what it can do. Already, 30,000 of the electronic armbands have been preordered – all of which will ship out in 2014 when the concept is a complete reality. The current price for the product is $149 per unit. Until then, the company runs a program that allows developers to submit their ideas regarding the kinds of software applications that will be used for the armbands.
So, what has people so intrigued by the concept of the armbands? Not only is the thought of pushing the envelope of living in a world closer to the science fiction movies we see in theaters appealing, but also, the armband promises a handful of elevated functions. People are told that they will be able to use their armbands to remotely control their computers, cell phones, and other digital devices – all with "simple, intuitive hand gestures" that respond to a range of electrodes that record muscle movements related to the arm of whoever is wearing the product.
However, advanced technology such as this armband is just one of the ways that the government and other organizations can keep a better hold over the general public. We already live in a society where satellites, cameras, GPS, microchips, and other state-of-the-art surveillance equipment track and record our every move. While the armbands are geared towards enhancing our entertainment value now, can you imagine what would happen if the government decided to regulate similar armbands (or other kinds of microchipped products), or possibly enforce people to wear such products in the future?
How easy would it be to outfit these armbands with technology the greater public isn't aware of?
We already know that certain agencies have been found guilty of monitoring the activities of people without their knowledge. Also, our society keeps allowing more and more equipment with RFID tracking chips to enter our everyday lives without making a fuss – from Disney wristbands to middle schools in Texas. Everywhere you turn, there are more products and services that trace your whereabouts, track your actions, log in personal information, and keep permanent records regarding your life.
You never truly know what is inside of a product – you only believe what you are told.