I’m not ready to trust my entire life to my smartphone, but many of you are, or will soon. What smartphones will become over the next few years and how they are attaching themselves to your life and our uniqueness is amazing, but also frightening. Just a few days ago The New York Times said “technology companies have promised the dream of the connected home, the connected body and the connected car. The idea of turning off the lights with a smartphone may seem gimmicky, but consumers are warming to applications.” I don’t think this is far from the truth as today smartphones are performing a range of daily and relied upon tasks and necessities (and while we’re on this, here’s a list, courtesy of Stephan Kinsella, of what our smartphones do for us that were onced performed by other devices). I think what has me on edge the most is how my smartphone is gradually extending out to be the gatekeeper of critical daily life functions and tasks that I don’t think I can live without. Back in the day, (no I’m not that old) we had our car keys in the bowl on the kitchen table and our EKG scan ribbon in our desk drawer – all that is changing. Here’s just a few quick examples of what I’m talking about:
- Car Keys: at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year, international automotive supplier Continental displayed how car drivers will be able to open and start their vehicles by using their phones as they have developed a virtual car key integrated into a smartphone that wirelessly swaps data with the vehicle.
- Passbook for iPhone: allows travelers to carry various travel documents such as airline boarding passes and hotel reservations inside their phones.Thanks to its location technology, your boarding pass is automatically displayed as you approach the airport. If there’s a change to your flight or gate, it’s updated on the boarding pass. Apple isn’t the first to the punch — mobile boarding passes for airlines such as AirAsia, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines have been around since 2007.
But the real concern is mHealth applications. Yes, they can help you live longer and not be a slave to visiting the doctor’s office and help those in remote areas when it comes to regularly being treated for life threatening diseases. However, what’s concerning right now is when the majority of people rely on smartphones to monitor and treat chronic ailments and diseases. Charles Mann of Vanity Fair recently said ”The day is not far off when the manipulation of medical devices will be done routinely by punching keys on a smartphone, putting an individual’s internal organs in the hands of every hacker, online scammer, and digital vandal on Earth.” In terms of what the future holds for the smartphone having complete command and access to our individual lives; although I’m a dedicated digital acolyte, I’m not immediately trusting. For me, the jury is out in some respects as the smartphone becomes life’s remote control, and ID card.