Apple’s latest watch — God’s deep knowledge

Apple’s latest watch — God’s deep knowledge

The idea of “being watched” by a compassionate God is not new. As Christians, every Sunday we rightly sing of God’s care and invite his watchfulness. Not everything will go our way; there may be days, years through which we feel afflicted, and yet we trust the God who knows us and watches us – at our best as well as our worst.

You have looked deep into my heart, Lord
and you know all about me”
                       Psalm 139,v1

But “being watched” is also an increasing trend in modern living. Every time you shop online — someone is watching. Your purchase is noticed so you can be targeted with ads, “recommendations” you are likely to respond to.

You discover my thoughts …
You notice everything I do
and everywhere I go”
                    Psalm 139,v2-3

Online Shopping

Every time you casually search for stuff on the web – it gets recorded. That’s why you get those ads that “follow you around” based on stuff you once searched for, and importantly, stuff you might search for before you’ve even thought of it.

…Before I even speak a word,
you know what I will say”                 Psalm 139,v4

Today of course we are highly mobile. Your phone or tablet is a sophisticated tracking device that let’s trackers know exactly where you have been, when you were there, and of course where you are now.

You know all about me.
You know when I am resting
and when I am working”                              Psalm 139,v2

How Much Are You Worth?

Information about you is worth cash and advertisers will pay. Using a calculator published in the Financial Times, if you are looking for a new car your personal/contact details are sold for 0.2 cents. If you are pregnant or looking for a new house however you are worth more — your personal details are sold for a huge 8.5 cents. Once you are sold, you start getting not just online ads, but those cold calls as well.

Essentially, your mobile phone and your PC are an efficient “store card,” quietly collecting a vast array of information about you, your likes and dislikes, likely income, the family and friends you buy for, what you search for, and of course, if you are pregnant or house‐hunting.

Fingerprint

Of course there are benefits. As consumers, finding exactly what we want is getting harder, there is always more out there to look at. Too much information about too many products with too little time to look is a feature of our culture.

Watches and Wearables

This is why I have concerns at the emerging “wearable technology”, highlighted by the launch of Apple’s Watch. Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of gadgets and tech. – and, to be fair, technology has paid my salary for 25+ years. But it’s the creeping intrusion of data‐collection into our lives that bothers me, and there seems to be no real public discussion on this.

Some examples: Apple and IBM have teamed up to collect health monitoring data from Apple Watches – “Apple Healthkit”. Of course this uploading of calories burned, heartrates and cholesterol levels could bring huge personal benefits and enhance medical research, but improper use of personal data certainly happens. Last week I heard a news item of people being cold‐called with “offers” because they had received a hip replacement. How did the cold calling company know this? Another article I read explained how supermarkets that run insurance companies are tracking shopping habits to offer discounts to customers they consider to be less risky, (….oops so no more Walkers Sensations and cans of Boddies).

Of course we can choose to opt out of marketing but this is increasingly difficult. Who has time to read lengthy on‐screen agreements? We just click “Agree” right? And only this week I purchased a train‐ticket online. I had to scrutinise the small‐print, tick 3 boxes and “untick” another box just to say “I DON’T WANT ADS!!” I only wanted to go to Nottingham. Be especially careful with those boxes that: “…pass your details on to carefully selected partners….

Online shopping

Technology has become mobile, so we take it with us. We are approaching what they call the “internet of things” including connected cars, fridges, smoke‐alarms and numerous household items eg I recently noticed, Samsung’s SmartTV which is voice activated and uploads audible voice to third parties. And so technology becomes wearable. Wearable tech. is capable of knowing facts about us that we don’t know ourselves. Our health, our habits, and our bad habits, all become fair‐game.

God’s Deep Knowledge

Where could I go to escape? …
Nothing about me is hidden from you!”                      Psalm 139,v7,15

Of course Psalm 139 isn’t about the Apple Watch, it’s about God’s “big data”. He only uses my information for my ultimate benefit, which He determines, He doesn’t use it to tempt me with offers, and he never passes it on to carefully selected third parties. Halleluiah!

I guess instead of armchair shopping, we could choose to go to the store and pay in cash with no loyalty points. But for most of us, that’s a tough call. In the battle of privacy versus convenience, it seems convenience wins, every time.

peopleandphones

Footnotes

  1. Quotations are from Psalm 139, Contemporary English Version, and were taken selectively, and deliberately.
  2. “Big data” is the rise of colossal computing power, running on thousands of servers remotely located, “in the cloud”. These scan trillions of consumer transactions per second and are constantly fed with data coming in over superfast broadband connections to produce meaningful consumer intelligence – and targeted ads. The best known commercial big‐data service is probably Amazon Web Services.

          “I can’t understand all of this!
           Such wonderful knowledge
           is far above me”                                               Psalm 139,v6

Apple's Watch

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Dylan PPhil GrundyOdessa DacmayFOGwalkerBirdieMarmar Dagu Recent comment authors

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Jane
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Jane

I find this big data thing worrying. I’ve noticed I’m getting cold calls and the person on the other end pretends to know me, that they’ve spoken to me ‘last year’ and asked them to call again. I’m pretty certain I don’t have dementia and that I haven’t spoken to them. I feel I’m being manipulated both on and off line. In all this the best and only thing I can do is trust God. Trust that because he has my best interests then that will hold sway over others who don’t (while at the same time doing my utmost… Read more »

Chris Goswami
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Yes I think most cold calling today is based on minimal knowledge of the person called and a lot of blagging! However as we increasingly and inadvertently upload all kinds of personal information — when I had my operation, how many calories I have NOT burned, what products I last searched for, my location etc etc — then we can expect almost sinister cold calls! The alternative of course is more effective regulation and a much higher level of awareness … and as I mentioned we could go back to the good old days of no online browsing, and no… Read more »

Marmar Dagu
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Marmar Dagu

awesome thoughts!

Chris Goswami
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Thanks for leaving that Marmar!

FOGwalkerBirdie
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FOGwalkerBirdie

Very interesting the way you put this together .…thought provoking

Chris Goswami
Guest

Thanks — I appreciate the comment. I also checked out your site: https://fogwalkerbirdie.wordpress.com/ — really enjoyed your poetry!

Odessa Dacmay
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Odessa Dacmay

great piece! 🙂

Chris Goswami
Guest

So good of you to take the time to say that!

Phil Grundy
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Phil Grundy

Thanks
I think the article is great. It’s interesting as I have been
considering using exactly the same passage! for my LICC blog. I only have 300 or so words so will only use it as a smaller part of the piece. We can then contrast and compare!

Chris Goswami
Guest

You can find Phil’s short blog “Has Apple Got Something Up Its Sleeve?” here: http://bit.ly/1EXO8pB
How interesting Phil that we had almost the same thoughts quite independently 🙂 Your comparison to the iPad reminded me of the comment from my wife: “what do we need THAT for?” when I first brought an iPad back from the US. Nowadays she is never off it!. Jokes aside technology is highly pervasive. Its sheer convenience seduces us and I believe the vast majority of people are quite happy to hand over personal details in return.…. until something major goes wrong

Dylan P
Guest

I went to church recently ( yes Chris I really did) the sermon was on ” Busyness” ie being too busy for God.
In essence I think the message was that the powers of evil creep up on us making our lives sooo busy with email, messaging, txting chatter, Sunday shopping etc that non of us have time to just think and contemplate.
One of those things to contemplate being God. I think he may have a point !