/ Weekly Takeaways

The future of tech is subtlety, Baby boomers overshare fake news and How China is watching their kids through smart clothes

CES 2019 highlights a future of "subtle tech" with wireless sound and screenless information

The Consumer Electronics Show is the world's largest consumer technology conference - drawing heavy players and startups alike. Outside of Apple's quarterly events, it's where the world turns to for a sign of what we'll be spending our money on each year.

Typically, we get bigger TVs, more hard drive space and overall, more of whatever we were already buying. This year however there was a new trend appearing - a more subtle look and feel to our tech that stays out of our way and blends into a more minimal aesthetic.

Three key products that showcased this more than anyone else were:

Key Takeaway

If 2018 was the year that everyone bought all the latest tech, 2019 will be the year that we hid it all away. Voice UI has allowed us to access our tech without touching it, or maybe more importantly, being used to our tech being available to us at all times. This is a concept that the tech scene's been calling Ubiquitous Computing for over a decade, but only now is it truly coming to life.

The biggest takeaway from this trend is that consumers want technology that gets things done for them, but they don't necessarily want to see it in action. Frictionless experiences have become the expectation rather than the hope.

Baby Boomers share the majority of fake news

In a study published this week - people over 65 were 3x more likely to share fake news than any other demographic. The study has been collecting data since the 2016 Clinton / Trump election in an effort to understand the spread of misinformation.

This may seem like an obvious conclusion; however, there have been several hypotheses over the past years that this was due to party lines or education, but apparently it's largely due to digital literacy.

Here's the full study: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/1/eaau4586

China begins monitoring students with Smart Clothes

In a project that's been running for 2 years - China has been monitoring small populations of students for truancy through their clothing. Chips are sewn into the shoulders of school uniforms and can withstand a few years worth of washing before they have to be replaced. The schools say that they only monitor during the school day to determine if a student has left the school, or didn't show up at all. The technology will now become more widespread with the success of the current program.


Key Takeaway

China's been pushing forward with a whole lot of Black Mirror-esque ideas lately - like their social credit system - so this one's not at all surprising. What's weird though is that I can see Smart Clothes going big in North America amongst parents that also want to know where their kids are. But then again, we're already doing that here with our phones...

The future of tech is subtlety, Baby boomers overshare fake news and How China is watching their kids through smart clothes
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