Originally published December 12 2014
Orwellian vending machines will track your identity to monitor your spending habits
by C.L. Doherty
(NaturalNews) Facial recognition technology has been in development for some time. The producers of the 2002 science fiction thriller movie Minority Report used advanced real-world technology ideas being developed at the time that they shot the movie, which takes place in 2054, to illustrate what the world could look and feel like in the not-so-distant future. Now, coming off the silver-screen and into our lives is the first facial recognition vending machine.
The Luce x2 Touch TV Hot Drinks vending machine was introduced to the world recently at an unveiling in Hertfordshire, England. According to the distributor's website, "The latest face recognition software means the machine will greet the user personally and offer to reproduce previously made custom beverages."
New vending machine includes remote computer controlled operation for ultimate "control"The website also explains telemetry management, a "servosecure" system which allows operators access to various types of data, including diagnostics, data audits and "other important functions" from each vending machine. An article in The Telegraph states that the machine can refuse to vend a product based on certain criteria such as age, medical history or purchase history. This technology seems to be POGO, or Obamian, in nature.
Rheavendors, the manufacturer of these new vending machines, and Smart Vend Solutions believe that this technological "advance" is perfectly acceptable. Examples of positive vending scenarios include preventing the sale of cigarettes to minors, people with gym memberships not being allowed to purchase fattening snacks or a hospital not allowing someone with diabetes to purchase items containing sugar. "We are determined to explore unprecedented avenues and endless possibilities in vending," Malcolm Standage, MD, of Smart Vend Solutions told The Telegraph.
Machine development occurred where privacy not well protectedThe ability to pursue the "endless possibilities" is far more easily accomplished legally in the United Kingdom than in the United States. According to FindLaw UK, there is no express right to privacy under English law and no civil remedy available for breach of privacy. FindLaw UK explains:
In the case of Wainwright v Home Office, the House of Lords held that there is no cause of action under English law for "invasion of privacy." In addition, the court said that Article 8 of the Convention [referring to the Human Rights Act 1998] does not create any such cause of action.
"It's not as if it's going to spy on you," said David Wilson, sales director at Smart Vend Solutions, speaking to The Telegraph. "It just makes your shopping experience more enjoyable... It brings a personal aspect to shopping, rather than, 'I'll have a number 44 with two sugars.'"
Great customer experience at the expense of privacy, freedom of choiceSmart Vend Solutions just wants you to have the best vending experience possible. Never mind that they've developed a vending machine with a 22-inch screen to display your purchasing history to anyone in the general area or that the operating system can incorporate your personal, even medical, information from outside sources. Don't worry about the possibility of those same outside sources using that information to impede your freedom of choice. What matters is that you'll have the convenience of a great cup of coffee wherever a Luce X2 Touch TV Hot Drinks vending machine is located.
Minority Report has overlapping themes and ideas running through the script. One of the main plot points is the struggle to find a balance between interactive technologies meant to provide an optimal consumer experience and the protection of private personal and medical information belonging to the end user. Movies don't always, or often, provide us with an accurate prediction of the technological future, but it seems, in this case at least, Mr. Spielberg's research is proving to be clairvoyant.
As for that cup of coffee, if it's all the same to Smart Vend Solutions and Rheavendors, I'll stick to ordering my coffee from a real barista. I'll take a tall please. Leave room for freedom of choice and two heaping spoons of privacy. Thanks.
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