Japan’s NTT DoCoMo mobile carrier is working on new technology for its next generation mobile phones that will quite literally predict your every move. Their next gen phones will be stuffed full of senors that will be able to identify the movement that you’re making.
Based on your actions you make when you move in a particular way (all of which the phone records via its sensors), sophisticated software will predict what your next actions wil be and will provide recommendations in advance. In other words, the phone will attempt to guess what you’re doing, and the predict what you’re about to do, which sounds just a little bit freaky if it works too well!
The work is part of Japan’s “Information Grand Voyage” research project, in which they’re trying to capitalize on the untapped data that can be harnessed through a world of sensors. Japan recognizes that Google effectively owns the Web’s information, and so cannot compete with existing digital info.
However, data from sensors, particularly those from mobile phones, such as accelerometers, GPS, compasses, etc., are completely untapped, and so it trying to steal a march on the giant search engine by exploiting this data first.
DoCoMo are just one of several companies working on harnessing this sensor data. Already DoCoMo’s prototype phones, which are worn on a belt and use accelerometers to determine movement, can sense when a person is standing, sitting or walking, though quite what the phone is meant to do with this information isn’t clear.
Other companies can determine whether a person is on a train (although a combination of GPS data and knowledge of train tracks would surely also give you this info) or eating a meal, while Kyuden Infocom is considering using the data to “…prevent lifestyle diseases”, which I can only presume means nagging you to get off your arse and do some exercise to stop you becoming obese!
Personally, although extremely impressive, this technology seems a little too invasive. Although the data’s anonymized, the very fact that my phone would be second guessing my every move would make me feel depressed – am I really that predictable that a mobile phone can guess what I’ll be doing next?! Why bother getting out of bed when your phone can tell you what you’ll be doing throughout the day?!
Oh that we’ve come to this!!