From phones to watches to glasses, devices are booming
Since the advent of the iPhone, the technology industry has undergone an explosive expansion. As powerful computers contracted into handheld devices, the technology industry has capitalized on a new age of convenience. However, in the last year, there has been stagnation in the growth of the smartphone market. As most people now have a cell phone and buy new phones only at the end of their two year contract, the number of consumers has been greatly diminished. The incremental increase in the development of cell phone technology has the industry looking elsewhere to maintain profits.
Recent developments by the technology monoliths Google and Samsung have unveiled the next generation of technology: smart watches and smart glasses. The smart watch, which will imminently be released by Samsung, Qualcomm, LG and possibly Apple, will affix on your wrist a computer companion to your phone.
Why should you have to hold a smartphone when all of the data can immediately be viewed on your wrist? You can forget looking at your phone for important emails, texts and phone calls; all important information will be filtered through your smart watch first. Imaginea world where the information you previously had to pull out of your pocket to view can be viewed on the back of your wrist.
The smart glass is the other impending technology. Although many companies have developed video camera glasses, Google Glass is the first truly internet connected pair of smart glasses. Glass will transform our perception of the world, literally.
With a computer inside your glasses, technology will be physically sitting in the corner of your eye. Although the practical applications of this technology are limited at this time, it will soon become an easy tool for navigation, photography, videoconferencing, phone calls and web surfing. It will be the first tool that directly links the real world to the web. The direct link between our vision and the internet will lead to infinite possibilities.
In the new age of technology, aspects we find creepy today will be the very features companies will be touting tomorrow. In the future, Google Glass will probably be able to show you the social profile of everybody you meet instantly.
Whether you are about to be interviewed for a job or meeting a stranger at a bar, Google Glass will let you know their relationship history, their likes and dislikes, as well as their current employment status. Pictures taken by your smart watch and glasses capture photos of virtually every facet of life, providing a visual biography for the world to view. Very few people truly protect their privacy on the internet thesedays; when was the last time you checked your Facebook privacy settings? Yet, every couple of days, the music you listened to, the places you visited, the pictures you took and the emotions you felt will be available for the world to see.
All of this technology development seems to be purposeless or at least, niche-oriented. However, looking back at the initial stages of the iPhone—how many people would have said having a smart phone was essential seven years ago? When they first came out, nobody foresaw smart phones as a fundamental necessity in the eyes of the public. It was mainly perceived as a business tool.
Yet, social communication in our today’s world not only incorporates the smart phone, it almost necessitates it. Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Vine have all benefited from the social expansion that resulted from the spread of smart technology. Although privacy concerns are extensive, the added convenience of the smart watch and the smart glasses seem to offer too much to give up. Both technologies will offer the concept of wearable technologies, a way for technology to be directly incorporated onto people. Smart phones already offer a constant connection to the world, but glasses and watches let us directly interact with the world without having to pull the technology from our pockets.
However, the question that arises from these technologies is at what point do the conveniences become too much? Do we need to have constant access to our emails, our music and our social networks? Arethey really enhancing our quality of life, or are they distracting us from the things that actually bring happiness? The hint of boredom will cause somebody to whip out their smart phone, and with smart glasses and smart watches coming out, the detachment between the individual and his surroundings will grow.
Twenty One Pilots capture this detachment in their song “Car Radio,” which narrates the story of a man who loses his car radio and must feel reality on his drives: “Sometimes quiet is violent”… “Cause this time there’s no sound to hide behind.” As his distractions fade away, he must feel pain and suffering. He must experience the aspects of life that make him distinctly human. However, this fresh feeling is so powerful, that he is unable to handle it. Although it may be an exaggeration, the ultimate concern is serious. If we cannot cope with the aspects that make us human due to smart devices, are they really as good as they seem?
Regardless of whether or not people accept the new technologies, they will test the boundaries of science and technology. They will push our technological capabilities to new limits. The smart phone has been credited with social activism and has enabled the world at large to see so much of other cultures and people. With so many more smart devices coming out, there is endless potential in its benefit to the world, albeit with many social concerns.
Rishi Chauhan is a sophomore biochemistry major from Voorhees, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.