Wearable technologies and the future
One of the hottest topics of the year is wearable technologies. Everybody was talking about cloud computing in the previous years, now it is all about machine to machine (M2M) communication and wearable technologies. One after the other, telecommunication companies and some major brands are entering one or both markets. In Turkey, Turkcell is leading the way forward in M2M and intelligent systems. They can construct systems for warehouses and greenhouses with which you can manage everything about the business, such as inventory control, climate control and water management from remote locations. Thanks to telecommunications companies, you can talk to your refrigerator or your car whenever you want, wherever you want.
The IT companies and some major sports brands such as Nike have chosen the path for wearable technologies in the forms of watches or bracelets. Nike has its running platform and companies like Samsung have their clever watches. Nike lets you see how many kilometers you have run in how much time and lets you plot your course and share it with whomever you wish. Samsung’s smart watch lets you be connected without your, phone just like in your favorite Bond movie.
The health industry jumped on both wagons and now we have products that let doctors to track our main life indicators online and just in time along with applications that can be downloaded to our smart phones.
From a purely technological point of view, these are amazing developments. Mankind should thank all of the people who are making these technologies possible. However, technology can be used for non-friendly reasons too and we should all be aware about them; especially if we are living in a country such as Turkey, where people are known to be put behind bars just because some other people in power want them to be there. Where workers are working in the worst conditions, where there is widespread injustice, any technology can be used against humanity. It was exactly one year ago that people rallied against the police to save Gezi Park. We have witnessed a steep increase in institutional violence after the standoff. The government began to sue everyone who expressed their opinions freely or let others to speak their minds on the platforms they established. The latest victim is Sedat Kaplanoğlu, who is the owner and founder of a platform called Ekşi Sözlük, which is the beacon of free speech in Turkey. He was sentenced to 10 months in jail, but the punishment has been postponed due to his good behavior. However, if he lets people speak freely about what they think in his platform, he will serve the sentence. It has been reported that the government is working on a system to keep track of people like Kaplonoğlu by punishing them to wear devices that will keep track of their daily activities. Similar technologies are used in USA. They can be life savers if they are used to track the proximity of an ex-husband who is known to threaten his ex-wife with murder. Turkey really needs that, considering the high number of women who are killed by their ex-husbands or ex-lovers.
However, it can also be used to track people like Kaplanoğlu to keep them caged. We, as people, should be very careful about how our government uses wearable technologies, as they are very powerful tools of either freedom or house arrest. Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine which would be the case in Turkey given the current political atmosphere.