Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"I Am Here: One Man's Experiment With the Location-Aware Lifestyle (Wired Magazine: 17.02 Article by: Matthew Honan 1/19/09)

This article described the social research of one man while using wireless technology and hoped to prove to its readers the constant change and innovation we are experiencing today. The application "Who'sHere" for the iphone has even the most tech-savvy guru baffled and in awe. "Who'sHere" allows other users of the application to know exactly where you are and what is around you based on longitude and latitude recordings. There were many benefits to this product as Honan noted such as the ability to find new restaurants based on likes and dislikes. He was also able to find and compare the cheapest gas prices around. Once Honan updated his current location he was able to find the locations of his friends also using the application "Who'sHere." This allowed him to meet friends in the area for lunch and he observed that this can defeat the problem of loneliness. I believe this is a great innovation because rather than go to a restaurant alone one of your friends that you have not seen in a while may be in town for a business trip and you can meet him or her and catch up on old times. Honan found a few drawbacks in the process describing how he met a friend in town for lunch through “Who’sHere” however a couple uninvited friends showed up as they noted Honan’s location through the application and created an awkward situation to say the least. He also described how he was blowing off a work meeting for a casual bike ride and did not want his superiors to find out where he was. This can become a problem with this type of technology and so Honan learned that privacy settings can be set allowing a user to change their location from a pinpoint spot to a more generalized city or state. I feel this is a good way to protect yourself from people possibly waiting for you to go on vacation and then breaking into your home or harming your family. I still believe there should be stronger privacy settings because anybody with your phone number can gain access to your general area. It is a very dangerous world and this application can greatly expose a person and their loved ones to serious danger. Anybody with an iphone can download this application making the number of users extraordinary. At this rate it appears to me as if there would even have to be a special police force protecting people from the danger they expose themselves to when using this new technology. Honan summed it up best saying that while we rely on technology so much we must not lose our “sense of place” and we must still rely on our senses to guide us. We still have a mind and we cannot let that go to waste and become too dependent on technology. In my opinion technology is a great aid but it should not take over our lives.

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