Did you happen to see The Circle last weekend? It’s a movie with Tom Hanks and Emma Watson about a company that builds products enabling people to share everything about their lives, 24/7, with marble-sized cameras that can be mounted anywhere.
On the same day I read about the movie, I also saw the announcement of Amazon’s new product, the Echo Look. It’s a smart microphone/camera device you put near your bedroom closet, currently centered on fashion. It takes photos of you so you can see how you look and get advice from online experts. It’s my guess that the use cases will rapidly expand to mimic many of the ones in The Circle. Is art imitating life or vice versa? Things are changing so fast it’s hard to tell. But one thing that’s for certain is the impact we’ll see in our personal and professional lives.
I’m not so sure I’d like a camera that’s always on in my bedroom, but I’m guessing there are a few million people who won’t mind. But thinking about my workplace, I feel differently. I’m for all the help I can get, and if some super-connected device can keep tabs on my appointments, contacts, calendar, health, etc., I say bring it on! In fact, I already have Siri on my iPhone and desktop computer that I use daily for routine tasks.
Whether in the movies or real life, the trend is towards openness and automated help, such as robots, artificial intelligence and smart devices that can answer any question you have and also perform tasks for you. This trend will increase productivity in the workplace. It will also trigger worries about job loss and privacy, subjects I’ll write about in an upcoming blog.