Futurology blog: what’s the next trend that’ll disrupt our world, financially, socially or just pointlessly?

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Wearable CCTV: a revolution in personal security

You can already shoot passable video with a mobile phone or laptop. Soon, affordable video cameras will get even smaller, small enough to fit on a brooch or those Bluetooth earclip things that cab drivers wear. From these micro-cameras, the video can be bluetoothed to a memory stick or iPod

But what’s it for? Security, of course. We’ll murder each other to get the things for our children, who, as we all know, face daily threats of all kinds of unimaginable horrors out there.

The kids will love them because they’ll be able to put their entire lives on youtube (what they fed us at school, yuck, what I vomited up on Friday night, double yuck).

But let’s face it, there will be a massive effect on crime. With all the video evidence available, the prisons will hardly be able to cope with all the new convicts at first, but one-to-one crime will certainly plummet when the bad guys realise it’s not worth it.

Happy slapping? The bullies will be filmed themselves, the films will go on youTube, tagged with the bullies’ names – and the video will become part of their digital CV forever, preventing their access to good universities and jobs.

Who knows, micro-cameras could even trigger a rise in more considerate behaviour, prompted by the desire to be seen to do something valiant – part of building up a positive CV. Imagine youTube posts like ‘my hero, who saved me from …’

Other effects? Insurance disputes involving car accidents could become cut and dried. Abusive service would be exposed. Racists in the workplace would have nowhere to hide.

On the other hand, life will be a lot less private. And a new etiquette will have to develop about when and where it is or isn’t acceptable to be recording video. I certainly wouldn’t want my dinner party recorded. Dating rules would be a minefield: you wouldn’t normally want your date recorded, but with all the scares about date rape, videoing a first date may be a good idea. (You could even get a professional date counsellor to analyse the video and tell you what you should be doing differently.)

Love it or hate it, micro-video looks inevitable.

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