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Big Brother-Style Technology Gaining Favor with Hotel Chains in 2019

If we sacrifice our privacy for our convenience, are we becoming too lazy or too aloof? Or, maybe both?

As technology continues to creep further into our daily lives in ever-more intrusive ways, it seems that our privacy has become less and less of a priority in America.

The convenience with which we interact with the world at large these days is astounding.  Many of us haven’t stepped foot in a bank branch in months, if not longer, for instance.  At our fingertips is everything we would ever need in the realm of finance – both an awe-inspiring and worrisome reality of life in the year 2019.

But are we giving too much away to these high-tech niceties?  Those of us who use our fingerprints to unlock our phones have given Apple, Samsung, and countless others full access to the sort of data that is taken from you forcefully when arrested.  Is this worth the second and a half of time it takes to manually unlock our phones?  I suppose it is up to the individual to decide.

Scarier still are the plethora of applications for facial recognition technology, and just how prevalent they are becoming in our everyday lives.

For example, hotels in China have already begun rolling out such invasive technology in their hotel chains, turning your own visage into your check-in confirmation.

Thanks to technology culled from across Alibaba’s vast network of companies, most notably Fliggy, Alibaba’s online travel platform, guests can immerse themselves in the crossroads of hospitality and technology. As Skift reports, it all starts with booking through an app, where guests can pick a floor and a view, exploring the minimalist room. Check-in is a breeze, too, especially for Chinese guests who can use the app to scan their faces to expedite the process (for now foreign guests must use lobby kiosks). No need to pick up a key from the lobby, because the elevator will scan your face and take you to the correct floor, and your face will open the room door. Once inside the room, requests for water, new towels, extra pillows, and more will be taken by Ask Genie, Alibaba’s Alexa-like assistant, and a three-foot tall robot will deliver the goods. Too hot? Too cold? Too many lights? Ask Genie to shut the curtains or crank up the heat.

Sure, this sort of digital wizardry has its time and its place, but many of us imagined that those instances would coincide with high-security protocols in government, medicine, or defense.

We must always remember that our privacy is constitutionally protected by the 4th Amendment, and we must remain skeptical of those who would prompt us into providing our most intimate and personal details for the sake of profit.



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