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The technology of a futuristic Big Brother

The technology of a futuristic Big Brother watching and controlling us all is here, not only with CCTV and mobile devices enabling us to leave digital footprints whenever we go, but now also in airports, using artificial intelligence. Automated surveillance powered by sophisticated artificial intelligence systems, facial recognition and ubiquitous sensor technologies can already effectively monitor flows of people throughout an airport.  This maks time consuming manual security checks the exception rather than the norm. [1]


2011 Advanced Optical Systems, Source: http://www.aos-inc.com/index.php/products/airprint

An example is the long-range fingerprint scanner AIRprint™, designed for security and military personnel. The device is developed for rapid, long range collection of fingerprints and it can capture fingerprints up to 6.5 feet away, in less than five seconds.

If the right infrastructure is ensured, a scenario where people could pay everything with a mobile phone can be very plausible.  This way, travellers could benefit from drawing out less foreign currency while abroad. However, this also means that every payment comes with a record of “who, when, and where” or “digital breadcrumbs” and that an integrated memory of payments can be built up over time. This enables businesses to offer more personalised products and services based on information provided by mobile data. Opt-in applications on travellers’ mobile devices could, for example, allow expenditure data to be shared in return for loyalty points, making customised deals and cross-selling more possible. [2]

However, the most realistic scenario is that mobile payments will be used along with coins and notes and not replace them.  Firstly because of privacy concerns: many people prefer to keep a record of payments off-grid. Secondly, because of the infrastructure: this technology will be difficult to implement in remote areas, considering the fact that even today many stores do not accept credit cards.

Square mobile credit card reader, Image: https://squareup.com/square

Square mobile credit card reader, Image: https://squareup.com/square

Square is a plug-in device and software application that allows anyone with a mobile device to accept credit cards, anywhere. The

The interface makes it easy for consumers to make payments and save receipts, and for merchants to perform analytics on their sales data.[3]

Over the next decade, travel is likely to become more collaborative, with both travellers and businesses having to work more and more with data and to interact with each other. The paradox is that by reducing the emphasis on selling, travel industry providers will have a deeper and more profitable relationship with travellers. [4]

Travelling became within the reach of more and more people. It is known that today people travel much more than before. In this context, value will be derived from helping people see old places with fresh eyes and finding new experiences. This can be done by facilitating the conversion among travellers rather than businesses. This means being more of a stage manager rather than a director; not necessarily selling a specific package or service, but taking more of a background role and allowing for services to be co-created by the group.[5]

However, the main challenges remain improving the infrastructure so as to facilitate the transfer and effective usage of data and adapting current business models to the technological advancements.

[1] Andy Stubbings, Andrew Curry, From chaos to collaboration, The Futures Company, 2012, commissioned by Amadeus and edited by Caroline Passmore, p.18

[2]IDEM, p.25

[3] Andy Stubbings, Andrew Curry, From chaos to collaboration, The Futures Company, 2012, commissioned by Amadeus and edited by Caroline Passmore, p.26

[4]IDEM, p.4

[5] IDEM, p.5


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This entry was posted on October 24, 2013 by in Privacy online and tagged , , , , , , .


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