Friday, October 14, 2011

Apple Is So Going To Own Our Lives

I downloaded the new iOS like many yesterday. And since yesterday, in between sitting with my girl who is having her exams soon and the distraction of the new iOS, I fiddled with my iPad and iPod. What caught my attention most was the iCloud. 5GB worth of free storage which can be accessed as long as you have an Internet connection. And so, this morning, I sat with my iPad and fiddled with the Reminder app. Then when I took up my iPod much later, lo and behold, everything that I had keyed in was there as well. iCloud made sure of it. The night before my spreadsheets went into the cloud too without so much of me batting an eyelid.

The new iOS is impressive. And it's also scary to think that Apple might own our lives too via this one day. Not too long ago, Pixar's animated movie, Toy Story changed the landscape of animated movies. The storyline is rather hazy in my mind now but I remember the cruel Emperor Zurg wanting to control the unamind which creates a collective mind (was it the little green people) so that he can conquer the universe. So many of us are happily embracing this newest convenience (the iCloud) that manages the data of our lives. What is there to stop the people who own the servers to mine the data there. Steve Jobs bought Pixar from George Lucas and it transformed the animation movie world. Toy Story was the company's first success. And in the movie, no toys get left behind. It's kind of reminds me how this little luxuries in the forms of iPhones,iPods and iPads have enabled many of us not to be left behind too... in education, the cool factor...no toys left behind in Toy Story. Apple products are now within the reach of the many of the masses. Less are getting left behind....

But what's scary with iCloud is your personal life goes into a cloud not owned by you. With FB you put out what you want to be seen by your audience. iCloud is different. The convenience might make you put in information which you would not put on a social networking site. And with this too, thieves and robbers will change with the new reality.

A decade ago, we talk about education in the light of producing knowledge workers... That will probably change too with the changes in the way information comes our way. In the past one year since we acquired our iPads, I've realized that knowledge alone is no longer enough. In the last decade or so, I'm seeing more emphasis in teaching thinking... Not that thinking was never taught but in my own experience I've been seeing a systematic dumbing down of kids by our over zealous education system which prizes the accomplishment of A(s) more than anything. The process of getting there causes us to train our kids to become experts in regurgitating. (Having policies which favor one race over others have also caused a systematic downgrading of our assessment.) We compromise quality for quantity. So, it is now common to find a student with an A+ in SPM English not able to write well at all. The A+ came about because the student had mastered the art of regurgitation. It's possible to do well in a subject like language which is actually a skill without actually having the skills. I know it sounds crazy but that's another reality of the success of our education system.

Anyway, knowledge alone is insufficient... I think we need to train our kids to be instinctive workers too; in that they can see the next step. We didn't even know that we 'needed' the iPad until Apple came out with it. Detractors said people would not find it useful. But Apple succeeded where other tablet makers have failed. They made the iPad so intuitive that both end of the spectrum (kids and seniors) could use it with minimal instruction. Same product but the people at Apple had Jobs who seemed to have the instinct to know what we need. A newborn baby thrives on human touch. iPhone, iPod, iPad, they all thrive on the human touch too. A knowledge worker will know how to solve a problem but might not have the instinct. A knowledge and instinctive worker will not only know but turn it into something that don't know we need yet. That is the genius that made Steve Jobs remarkable.

If iCloud really catches on, they have the making of their own unamind too. When I studied Sociology at university, I learned about the collective behaviour, how it is shaped. Remember The Matrix and the collective consciousness? Now, that script is not only filled with sic-fi knowledge but was also instinctive of what the future might look like.... man and machine co-existing. Which brings to attention Siri. Was just reading about how one guy asked silly questions to it and it actually came across as having a character... AI for the masses.

Just amazing how the last 5 years have seen the emergence of an intuitive technology and also why sometimes I wonder if Jobs had been given a few more years, what would it have been like. But think too, if after years of dependence on the iCloud (or its likes) and one day, it is taken away from us. Would we be able to function? With every bit of advancement, we give a bit of ourselves too. Whoever owns the cloud owns the people... very unamind like, don't you think?

No comments: