Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The 'love at first sight' embedded chip - a 2020 PR issue

There is a very interesting discussion going on at PR Conversation. I have just added a comment about PR in 2020 and re-present it here.

..... Perhaps we can take a wider look at ethics and social media and some other aspects of the new PR mediated by the Internet of Things.

Seeing, for example, social media from the constituent's perspective one finds some pretty dangerous happenings.

For example in Wired Mat Honan describes an experiment he did by 'liking' everything he say on Facebook. The most worrying aspect of this activity is the impact he had on his followers. They were bombarded with, in effect, his propaganda (and some of it was pretty distasteful http://goo.gl/SdsPlV).

Do we, as practitioners, monitor what our constituents see to identify if they too are targets of propaganda? Do we ensure that our 'marketing' colleagues are not using such tactics? There are some big ethical issues here too.

Meanwhile, www.brightplanet.com and www.torproject.org, two of the Darkweb search engines make password/paywall protected content in the Lightweb visible for all to see - yes, even your academic papers!

It does not stop there, these search engines shine a bright focused spotlight onto a much bigger internet than most would credit. Internet porosity is now a much bigger issue. Is this sort of search and monitoring ethical?

Once again, we might also ask the ethical question of our marketing colleagues and web masters. Information is  'leaking out' faster than we imagine.

And so back to wearable technologies.

By 2020, London will have 5G (http://goo.gl/iBZEUn).

4G offers download speeds that are roughly equivalent to your superfast broadband (around 30-40Mbps) at home. 5G will go well beyond that http://goo.gl/dPsTBx.

You will be able to download a film to your Google Contact Lens in less than a second http://goo.gl/gnfWsc.

Regardless of the technology adopted, it's thought that there will by multiple smaller antennas employed, allowing signals to be emitted in multiple directions and even bounced off off buildings and solid surfaces. New York University, have come up with the idea of utilising millimeter-wave frequencies. The main advantage of using this frequency range is that it's scarcely used by other broadcast technologies http://goo.gl/fiPBNd.

Already there are a range of network technologies that can be deployed that are almost 'invisible' to the onlookers too e.g. http://maidsafe.net. There is no question that such capabilities will evolve to work on the new 5G networks.

Apple is rumoured to be working with Intelligent Energy, a fuel-cell firm that could enable Apple's devices to last "days or even weeks," http://goo.gl/R9BTMz. There are also experiments being run to generate electricity from microwaves. Such technologies remove the need for batteries or other power supply http://goo.gl/t3oz58.

 Not only will it be 20-100 times faster than 4G, it will be a communications technology that can be embedded into almost anything (think light-bulb). It will provide an opportunity for development of a distributed network internet unencumbered by the big ISP's and not needing batteries or other connections to electrical power.

The internet will then be able to reach areas and communities that do not have electricity or a reliable electrical resource.

Embedded and mobile devices. The "Internet of Things" will explode. Such devices are being developed now. Some predictions suggest 50 or more mobile devices per person by 2025 (that is only eleven years away).

Why should this be relevant to PR?

If there is traditional media, social media and a new medium called 'Things' and we have 50 'Thing' media attached to us one way or another, the evolution will be many times more significant than the 4G mobile phone plus the tablet communications device 40% of the population already carry with them wherever they go.

Which of your students will resist the 'love at first sight' embedded chip which tells them that the pheromone count of the the hunk that just walked in the door thinks they are gorgeous? For the proponents of PR as relationship management this chip will be a whole new area of practice and for the PR as a communications discipline will have ever more communications channels/content  to worry about.

So can we imagine such developments in 10-15 years?  Did we envisage Twitter and YouTube as part of the PR discipline in 2004 or 1999?

Perhaps PR needs to begin work on what to do now and not leave it too late.

I am certain that we should be working on development of University courses with such developments in mind.

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