The digital revolution that our nation is currently experiencing is still too present to be fully understood, which makes our willy-nilly embrace of certain aspects of the transformation a bit premature as well.
For instance, the algorithmic ability of some of these companies to unlock patterns of human behavior that would previously go unnoticed otherwise. The question is whether or not everyone who has access to this sort of behavioral data is using it for the most sincere of purposes, and, the larger the corporation, the more room there is for hidden danger.
That’s why some are now bristling at the idea that Google wants to watch us sleep.
Google’s Nest unit is expanding into health technology with a feature that tracks sleep patterns, offering a potential new revenue stream but also raising privacy concerns.
The company unveiled the second-generation model of its Nest Hub smart display in a blog post Tuesday, and this time it comes with a function called Sleep Sensing that monitors the breathing and movement of a person sleeping next to the screen — without a camera or needing to wear a device in bed.
The system also detects disturbances such as coughing and snoring, along with light and temperature changes using the Nest Hub’s built-in microphones and ambient light and temperature sensors. Over time, it learns the user’s sleep patterns and gives personalized recommendations.
Privacy experts have long feared that this technology could someday be turned against us, either by Nest or via some complex hacking routine, which is precisely why the nation at large must begin to keep as keen an eye on Google as they are keep an eye on us.
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