Monday, January 10, 2011

The Game Changer I Saw At the Consumer Electronics Show

Just saw the first thing here at the CES that I think is a game changer with some profound implications. Not even sure the manufacturer has thought through all the societal implications.

A company called Looxcie is coming out with a bluetooth enabled camera that fits right on your earpiece. It films everything you see and can, with the push of a button, upload what you just filmed to YouTube, Facebook, or twitter. It can even do live streaming.

Here's the cool part. As these devices spread, you will be able to tune into just about anything, anywhere in the world. Riots in Jakarta? Watch it live. Springsteen at the Meadowlands? Watch it live.

Here's another development we can expect: celebrities or other self absorbed types will stream their lives to the world 24/7. Why should Ashton Kutcher simply tweet he is getting coffee when he could broadcast the experience? If your life is boring, you will tune into the lives of others. Reality TV to the tenth power.

People - and not just celebrities - will use streaming video to build out their personal brands. Product placements will become big business - the next advertising frontier of the digital age.

I also predict that in the not-too-distant future people will use these cameras to document their entire lives so that at any point they can retrieve archived footage of any moment of their existence.

Which gets me to the creepy part. As it is, these devices are small, but in a couple of years you won't be able to tell someone's wearing one. In other words, you could be getting filmed at any time and not know it. Lots of people will get filmed saying and doing things that won't play well on the internet. Social interaction will become guarded.

I predict this device will be ground zero for the privacy wars. Congress will get in the act (particularly since they're the ones always getting caught doing embarrassing things). Stay tuned.


  1. This is going to be huge... In the past year live streaming (from computer webcams) has exploded -- mostly with professional gamers live streaming their games (not just porn). It's a huge fad on the internet. This will accentuate and build upon it, inevitably bringing a new level of information access and entertainment. This is about as close to virtual reality as we can get, and humans LOVE that stuff.

  2. I see the positives, but:

    Bathrooms, bedrooms, locker rooms, bars, frat houses, hotels, golf courses.....Big Brother will not have to spy on us, we'll do it ourselves.

    This may be huge, but unchecked it will severely limit our freedom and our privacy.

  3. Interestingly, enough the current concept privacy and to some extent freedom didn't exist before the 19th century, more or less there was no such thing as privacy if you go back beyond that. Ironically, technological progress is one the key enablers of privacy and freedom as we perceive them nowadays, it's interesting interplay.