Being a bit of a bloke, I passed the perfume, jewellery and clothing stores, and ended up at the technology counter. After sifting through various cameras and binoculars, I settled on a ‘wearable’ – a Jawbone wrist bracelet that among many things claimed would measure her sleep patterns.
While this puts our household at the forefront of early adopters, I believe wearable computing will be big. But the challenge at the moment is that every wristband has a separate function and you would quickly run out of arm (or leg) room for them all. The key is for someone (Apple?) to come up with one device (a watch?) that can do multiple things, in the way the iPhone revolutionised mobile phones. And wouldn’t that be the ultimate piece of big data/marketing automation, if the doctor called you to tell you “you are about to have a heart attack and an ambulance will be with you in four minutes” based on the sensors on your arm?
Amazon has been talking about delivery drones for some time, so what about cars? US automotive firm Continental estimates that autonomous vehicles could save $5tr in deaths and injuries and could be on our roads by 2025. But who would you sue if you got hit by a driverless car? And would it not lead to endless telesales agents offering to help you in pursuing claims for numerous accidents that you don’t recall ever having?
Then we have armed combat. While the movies have been there for a long time, in this centenary year of the Great War, when so many men lost their lives as cannon fodder to draw the enemy’s fire, why would we ever waste lives in that way again. Why not have armies of robot soldiers made solely out of metal? Clearly the worrying implication – a bit like playing the board game Risk – is that the side with the most money to buy the most “soldiers” would always win.
The bigger question – which marketers have failed to crack – is why are women from Venus and men from Mars? My wife liked the Jawbone bracelet, but she would have preferred one from Tiffany’s next door.