I was talking about the internet of things again today, and realised that I have a grand vision of the not too distant future where everything communicates with everything. We have chips as tiny as nanodots inside every brick, pavement slab, tyre, wall, ceiling … you name it. We have more intelligent chips inside car engines, visual entertainment systems (the TV is no more), wearable devices from rings to necklaces to bags to shoes. Everything is communicating with everything and our devices are all attached to us through the blockchain.
The result is that my Star Trek vision of no one paying for anything becomes a reality. I drive to the big city and park. My car tells the metering system it’s my car and it’s parked here until I come back. When I come back it asks the system how much it owes and pays. I do nothing.
My car then drives me to the gas station – I don’t drive anymore as it’s self-driving – and it asks the station robot for $30 of LPG. The robot pump system delivers and I just sit, working and enjoying the entertainment and world around me. The car drives off and all of the transaction is seamlessly in the background.
I’ve asked my Tesla to take me downtown to a decent bar – I haven’t been in this town before – and it delivers me to Joes 99er. I have no idea who Joe is or why he’s talking 99 and I don’t care, I just want a drink. Joe – or the guy behind the bar – gives me a large Whisky and Bud. It’s my usual tipple and my shoe just told his stock management system that’s what I’d want. I felt a little vibration from my shoe that confirmed this would be ordered and just let it go. It was too much trouble to shake my left foot for a Gin & Tonic.
After three Buds and Whisky combos, I jump back in the car and am ready to hit the casino. The car asks me three times if I really want to do this – it knows what happened last time – and I just say yea. I’m cool and mellow and a little bit drunk, something I’m ultra-aware of as I’m supposed to be sober in charge of a self-driving car. Why that law still exists, I have no idea.
So the car drops me at Caesar’s Shed, it’s kinda five steps down from the Palace, and I start shooting some Blackjack. My shoe vibrates again, as I’ve just lost $2,000 in the first five minutes and my budgeting balance for the month for gambling has been reached. But it’s only June 2nd for heaven’s sake. I stamp my foot and the balance is lifted, along with a healthy top-up of $10,000 moved from my savings account in real-time.
By the end of the evening, my savings are gone and the bank’s given me a loan of $15,000. I hate it when I click my shoes together and say there’s no place like home. After all, that’s the trigger for my biometric check to ensure it really is me saying that I want an extra line of credit. No-one notices the heartbeat check and the touch of my finger to the side of my glasses. Works every time.
Unfortunately, it works and makes sure that I lose every last dime of my money but then I have this lady who seems to have joined the ride home, and the car is asking where to go. I say home with an S (for seduction), and the car heads to my destination of choice.
As we arrive, the nest is bathed in purple light. Ed Sheeran schmoozes Thinking out Loud from the wireless speakers and we’re soon enjoying an intimate moment. As our bodies touch, something in my ring tells me a transaction just happened. It is only then, with the combination of my gambling losses and Bud combos, that I realise this is no ordinary woman as I gather she’s not here for a long-term relationship.
In fact, the following morning, as my red eyes open and realise she’s gone, that the sun rises on my virtual walls and my infomediary assistant tells me my account has been frozen. It just goes to show that the shoes I brought last month really are a bad influence. Next time, I should stick to the watch.
Ah well, a good night was had by all and not a payment or authentication was visible to all. Just wireless credits and debits from the stamp of a shoe to the touch of an eyebrow.
The world has changed a lot in the last ten years. I remember in 2010, I used to keep lots of pocket change in my car to pay parking metres, and got frustrated with the endless stops at toll booths to swipe my credit card. By 2015, things had improved immensely. Now I just had NFC payments, prepaid apps and one time passwords. No longer would I jiggle around trying to find the right change. My tech would help me to sort out the detail. Now, my tech just does it all for me. I just try to work out : was it all worth it?