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Robert Winner

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Are smart devices too smart for our good? Smartphones and tablets are rapidly becoming the universal remote controls for everyday life.

The next phase of the digital revolution will dramatically alter entire industries while simultaneously creating new ones. It will affect the way smartphone and tablet users — whose ranks are skyrocketing — manage their cars, their homes and their personal lives.

In the end, convenience will win out over ethical and legal concerns, analysts say, and the market will decide how far mobile technology should go.

One thing is for sure: The transition to a remote-control society already is well under way.

In todays electronic society, it is not inconcievable that a dishonest person can track, locate, and download all your information without your knowing it. Sole source items such as a Pad / tablet / etc ... that provide all information on you, your life, and property make destroying your life extremely easy.

Is this degree of "convience" really where we need to go.

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    Mar 13 2013: the thing is, Bob, if they are, what are you going to do about it, you can't take them away. I believe people have a certain wisdom here, if smartphones get a lot of usage, it's because they're a good thing, if they ever become a bad thing people will stop using them.
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      Mar 13 2013: Greg, I don't subscribe to that theory .... drugs, alcohol. smoking, AIDS, ...
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        Mar 15 2013: well, some things have gotten better. Isn't there less smoking, more safe sex, possibly less illegal drugs. Alcohol sure seems to hang on, I wonder why people like alcohol so much?
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          Mar 15 2013: Greg, I was once an analyist ... I can make any numbers you give me look great by changing the sentence structure. Don't believe numbers ... completely.

          Example: Unemployment. The administration basis the number on the number of people who sign up for unemploymet during the month 7.8%. Sounds great in a speech. But they leave out the people on welfare and the people whose benefits have expired and those who have just given up and no longer report to the welfare office. If you look at the national debit clock on the right had side it gives the number of unemployed, currently around 24 million ... thus around 14.5%. The other thing they do is to count less than 40 hour positions. End of summer comes and the high school kids go back to school ... they were part time and do not report to welfare for benefits .... MacD's hires people to replace them .... reports show no jobs lost and thousands gained .... makes the news as a big job gain. Christmas same thing .. I hire you for 90 days ... big increase ... anouncement that the economy is on the rebound .... 90 days are up and because it was temporary no one gets fired and no one goes to welfare with a job loss .... wow the administrations plan is really cookin ..... NOT.

          Safe sex ... high schools are giving away condoms .... 15 year olds are getting PG .... border crossing is still high and part of the deal to smuggle you in is each will carry some drugs ... alcohol, gotta give ya that one, the great American escape route.

          The media is 100% (oops forgot about fox) behind Obama. Last week the Huffington Post (of all papers) said that Obama was less transparent than Bush. Had to google it to make sure even after reading it myself on the Huff.

          Greg, do your own research ... things are never as they seem. Read about 1916 Argentina and change the name to USA. Look at todays Venzeula going under just like us. Fore warned is fore armed. Don't drink anyones koolade.

          Bob.
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      Mar 14 2013: I agree with Robert here, although I don't think AIDS belongs in that counterargument.
  • Mar 31 2013: These phones aren't smart enough. They got more bugs than back yards and love glitching at all the perfect times. When they are fully voice controlled with out ever pressin a button then were on the way. When I can click wit my eyes then I'll be content, that is, until I can click wit my mind.
  • Mar 13 2013: It is not where we need to go, but it is definitely where we want to go, PROVIDED that we make the internet secure.

    The notion that the internet cannot be made secure is making a lot of people a lot of money. Sooner or later, our governments, corporations, and our whole society must demand a secure internet.

    When we can keep all of our personal information securely in the cloud we can access it wherever we go with any number of any kind of devices. Right now, it is literally impossible to imagine how much this will change our lives, because information is that powerful.

    People have been talking about the information age for decades, but it is still in its infancy. As we move into the information age we will have to redefine the meaning of privacy and personal information. (At some point we will have to reclaim our right to our own DNA.) Now, corporations own your internet search records, social networking records, communication records, medical records, shopping records and financial records. Corporations know more about you than you do, and they control that information. The ubiquity of smartphones and tablets will make people more and more conscious of how information affects their lives, while also giving them ready access to (and perhaps control of) that information. That is very good.
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      Mar 14 2013: The possibilities seem limitless with regards to what can be done as more and more information and types of information become digitized into the cloud, and frankly it does excite me. What worries me is the security of it; I feel as if there's always some way for the system to be breached. As long as the security risks outweigh the benefits they reap I think adoption will continue to rise. I wonder though, is there a limit to how integrated they can become? I already feel some of the integration is too much, like the car integration as I said earlier.
      • Mar 14 2013: As long as the security risks exist, further integration compounds those risks.

        Unfortunately, the security risks are just being patched over in an unending race between the hackers and the providers. This approach is madness. If development of the smart grid continues with our insecure internet we are headed for disaster. We need a comprehensive approach to complete security of information. The first step is for the so-called experts to become convinced that it is possible.

        Meanwhile I do not use cloud services or social web sites. I do use online banking, and keep a close watch on my account.
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    Mar 13 2013: I'm pretty sure there isn't a need for smartphones; they just allow people to do things on the Internet that they would otherwise do on a computer but in more places. I must say that I'm guilty of being a bit dependent on my iPhone; I use it about every hour or so to do some non-phone related function (I'm pretty sure I use it more often for calls and texts). I think it's too far when they're used to manage cars for some reason. I feel like it would be too easy to be distracted by that sort of tactile technology while behind the wheel. Yet at the same time I'm also letting these companies with my information in my email...

    It will be interesting to what other sort of out-of-the-ordinary applications there will be in the future. However, I don't completely agree with having everything on one device.
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    Mar 12 2013: Need? Needs for a quality life are food, shelter, clothing, and a passion. Beyond that, all is want. So no, it's not where we need to go, but it is where we are going.
  • Mar 12 2013: Lol,then what?what your question reminds me one of questions I asked myself often:what do I live for in this world?as much as I asked myself,I am aware of it:no any remote devices can control you but yourself.