Wednesday, June 5, 2013

putting the 'con' in 'spiracy'


While I don't spend that much time being overly paranoid, there are a few technological developments that deserve a little scrutiny. For instance, the upcoming version of the XBox (which, like all current game machines, will be an internet-connected device) soon to be released to the public comes with a mandatory accessory called the Kinect. The general idea is that you can walk into the room where it's installed and just say 'XBox on' in order to play a game or watch television. Yes, a big part of its appeal is that you can use it to give your television commands just in case you're bored with old fashioned remote control devices; it will also be Skype enabled since MS bought them 2 years ago. Of course if all you have to do is talk to the Kinect then it can never really be off. And, while you can opt to turn it off (which, of course, would defeat its whole purpose), if it's unplugged, or removed, the XBox itself won't work at all.

The Kinect device designed for the Xbox One can monitor users’ movements with a camera that sees in the dark, picks up conversations as well as voice commands with a microphone, and can also read your heart rate using infrared cameras that track blood flow underneath the skin. What makes this worrisome is that Microsoft has filed a patent that suggests it is interested in using Kinect to count the number of people in a room in order to charge each person for providing pay-per-user content.  Imagine sitting down to watch a streaming movie that you've paid your rental fee for only to have the Kinect count how many people are in the room and turn the movie off until you've paid for everyone watching it: 'I'm sorry Dave, you can't do that'.

Officials in Germany and Australia have alerted their respective governments about the possibility of the XBox Ones being being used as surveillance devices and have advised against them. Goodness knows there are already more than enough privacy issues with CCTVs, cell phone photographers/videographers and what have you out in public without having another sitting in the corner of the room watching you or your children without you being aware that it's doing just that.

Now while I run off to find a piece of tape to cover the pinhole camera in my laptop, you can check out this sweet little movie about an old man who was afraid of falling:

The Man Who Was Afraid of Falling from Joseph Wallace on Vimeo.


20 comments:

The Crow said...

Susan, you find the most interesting films and video clips to share - thank you!

Life As I Know It Now said...

OMG, I guess I had better start covering up the pinhole camera in my laptop as well!

Tom said...

What pinhole camera? Please, where is it located? I'm switching off now.

Tom said...

I have re-read your post, and run through the little movie a couple of times. It was wonderful. It brought to mind that song, "The Rose" (of which I have a recording by Bette Midler)......"It's the heart afraid of dying that never learns to live....." Thank you Susan.

susan said...

It was nice, wasn't it? and apparently all constructed with cardboard. Pretty amazing.

susan said...

They're usually right in the middle at the top - next to the microphone :)

susan said...

It's weird to think that they can watch us too, however unlikely that may be.

susan said...

Thanks for the reminder about that song. The line you quote definitely gets to the heart of the matter.

Randal Graves said...

Precisely why I plan on sticking with my NES.

susan said...

Good one.
I can always rely on the discretion of my Animal Crossing neighbors.

Sean Jeating said...

Watching "1984" at the age of 12 or 13 in school caused me to look under my bed each evening before I went to bed. Horrible weeks for little Sean.
What I would not know then: THAT was fiction.

As for the old man being afraid of falling: I do like Tom's comment; the more when I think of how often young hearts are being taught to be afraid of failing . . .

susan said...

Reading 'Animal Farm' around that age got to me first. In 1984, Neil Postman wrote a book called 'Amusing Ourselves to Death' in which he compared the visions of Orwell and Huxley regarding our future; it's beautifully summarized in this cartoon.

I liked Tom's comment too. The world has certainly grown less forgiving towards everyone but the young suffer most.

linda said...

what? my laptop is getting it's kicks watching my antics? really? not really... i will hurry and cover with duct tape immediately after leaving you my late but better than never comment on this stupid device. how many devices do we need anyway. it would seem that the younger set does not possess the sensibilities of the older set. this probably wouldn't faze them whilst making me wince and grimace at the thought! i can only imagine my grands with one but maybe not... it's my son after all. ;)

now to watch the little movie. you always have the best ones. i went off to youtube to watch more on the temples, thank you very much. ♥

susan said...

Hah, you were still here while I was answering your other comment and visiting your blog. Funny how those things happen, eh? Well, I'm really not too paranoid about my computer watching me but the whole XBox thing is a very nasty development. From what Jer has told me about the game boards a lot of younger people who have been fans of the X up til now are angry about the other changes MS has made so maybe the thing won't happen.. or just won't sell, which amounts to the same thing. Time will tell.

I'm glad you saw more Ajanta movies. Not surprisingly, it's mostly Indian visitors who go there. Wish we could too but dreams will have to do :)
xoxoxo

Mauigirl said...

I am thinking Huxley and Orwell were both right! Loved the little movie about the old man.

Andrew MacLaren-Scott said...

Please do cover the pinhole camera in your laptop. I am getting fed up watching you. All you ever do is sit with that silly face on and hit the keyboard.

susan said...

Yes, it seems one leads to the other, doesn't it?

I'm happy you enjoyed the movie and happy to see you again too.

susan said...

Rather than the tape, I've decided on a full veil. I hope it meets your approval.

Andrew MacLaren-Scott said...

Ah... quite fetching. Much better.

susan said...

Hah! Problem duly solved.