Big Brother is Watching (out for) Us

by Sally Applin

Apparently since we can’t seem control ourselves (see the financial news for the in-depth saga of that) there are two companies that are helping us with our impulses.

In yesterday’s New York Times, there was an article about Ford’s “teen proofing” new product/service called “MyKey” which apparently will help to moderate teenage reckless driving.

The NY Times article states:

“Like V-chips that restrict what children can view on television, MyKey allows parents to limit teenage drivers to a top speed of 80 miles per hour, cap the volume on the car stereo, demand seat belt use and encourage other safe-driving habits…MyKey can sound a chime whenever the vehicle travels above 45, 55 or 65 miles per hour, and prevent the driver from turning off safety features like traction control, which inhibits spinning tires. It can also be set to mute the radio and chime repeatedly until the driver is buckled up.”

Also in yesterday’s news, Google announced its “Mail Goggles” filter for Gmail. The Mail Goggles function is likely named after “beer goggles,” the condition one is seemed to have when having imbibed enough alcohol so that one’s judgement is impaired. The Mail Googles filter will not permit the user to send email unless they have solved some math equations within a certain timeframe–thus creating a checkpoint to be certain that they actually do want to send the message. The general idea is that after a few drinks, it might not be a good idea to send that email to your ex, your boss, or your current partner–even though it may seem like a really good idea at the time. To further complicate matters, the Mail Goggles can only be set late at night on the weekends. So if you are prone to wanting a self-checking solution 24/7–it seems that you can only do so late at night on the weekends.

While Google lets the user set the controls, and Ford puts it in the hands of the parents–its still an interesting trend. When all else is being thrust out of the hands of institutions and into the hands of the individuals, two institutions are offering to “watch out for us.”

Trend: Something about both of these seem less innocent than they seem. I can’t put my finger on it yet, but watch for more things coming along from corporations to “save us from ourselves.”

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.

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