Wednesday, September 10, 2014
An Apple Watch-like device figures heavily into my novel, The Milkman. I didn’t set out to predict the future – that wasn’t even possible, lots of speculative stories have featured similar devices going back to Dick Tracy – I arrived at the device by necessity. In the Freeworld of The Milkman, everyone works for one of three super-companies. Those companies want you to have a phone/watch/wallet. No, they need you to have one. One will be provided should you not be able to afford one. The cuff, as most of my characters refer to their communications devices, provides several services for the mega-corporations in my future.
First, because there are only three companies, and no governments, each company has a closed economy. The only money is the money they issue. One way to promote growth in this situation is to increase the velocity of money. A watch, loaded with your credit card, does that quite nicely. Quick transactions, reduced time for impulse control and that lack of feeling that any money even change hands leads to a lot more money changing hands.
Second, the watch lets companies watch. This is not a matter of Amazon knowing what kinds of books you like. The dataset available from Apple’s package will include everything you Google, what you had for lunch, how much time you sit, your heart rate, your friends and whether or not you’re happily married, go to church or dream of owning a hot tub.
Third, and most creepy, people will like these watches. They will love the convenience, the shortcuts, the entertainment and connections they make available. All that good stuff flows through the company. Want to talk to your daughter, obtain your insulin or view all those baby pictures you took ten years ago? It depends on access and access depends on the company.
I’m not saying Apple is nefarious in any way. I’m just saying our future is like the French Quarter: very cool - wonderful nooks and crannies . . . and allies one best not go down.
Posted by Michael J. Martineck at 12:37 PM