The following could be a Monday morning in the near future:
Your smartphone alarm wakes you up at 7:00 AM, but since you have no appointments this morning, you hit the snooze button.
Your health-care app deducts 3 points from your credit for not sticking to your “healthy lifestyle routine”. You are still learning to understand their proprietary algorithms.
When you get up a bit later, you skip the required morning exercise. Your smartwatch or wristband transfers the information to the smartphone via bluetooth and it costs you another 3 points. Both incidents are synced with your health insurance company. Using the app is mandatory to qualify for their lower insurance premium. The smartwatch monitors movement/activity, pulse, temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar, body fat, and a few other things you are unaware of. Your “estimated remaining lifetime indicator” on your smartwatch goes down by what looks like 40 minutes.
In the bathroom you brush your teeth. The toothbrush is connected to the phone and the app and adds 2 points. You do not receive the full 5 point credit, since you fail to brush your teeth for the required three minutes. Your dental record at the dentist praxis is informed automatically, she will require an earlier check up, if you fail to brush properly too often. The checkups give you credit towards your premium. But the dentist can reverse that, if your dental care is below their standard. And the algorithm for that of course is propriety.
When dressed you enter the kitchen. The milk is past its best by date, so you skip the fruit and fiber breakfast. You lose 2 points of your health-care app for that, and 2 points on your “social and environmental responsibility” app. Wasting food is discouraged that way. The milk container and the refrigerator read and monitor the bar code and QR code on all products. You had a warning message about the best by date on Saturday evening, but you were at a party and forgot to act on it. That is the internet of things. You are able to gain two points for the glass of orange juice though. Having your tea with sugar would cost you 1 point, so you drop it today. The skimmed milk is a given, you opted out of even being able to buy full fat milk as part of the lower insurance premium program. Red meat is off the list as well. When you leave the apartment by 7:45 AM you gain 5 points for taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Your remaining lifetime indicator goes up by a few bars.
Leaving the building, your smartphone starts downloading your business emails. Corporate social responsibility requires your employer to shut off push email from Friday 8:00 PM to Monday morning 8:00 AM. The health and safety department monitors this via an app and charges the company for violations. Participating in the program gives the company a lower tax rate. Every time you overwrite this policy and check for business emails during the off work period, the company deducts 1 cent from your paycheck for every email you download, and 5 cents for every email you answer. You did well this weekend, but now you have dozens of unread emails in your inbox.
One email is a meeting request from a client at 9:30 AM. You confirm the meeting, which gives you two points on your employee scorecard for good customer service. But you cannot take the bus or the subway. Both would have given you credits on your environmental responsibility app, 5 for the bus, 10 for the subway. The walks in between would have added credit to your health app. But you would likely be late for the meeting.
Reading that email on Sunday could have been the better investment, but who knew?
To be punctual – another bonus point on your employee scorecard and a requirement for participating in the company stock bonus program – you pick a car-to-go, which you rent on the spot via your smartphone. Wanting to pick up fresh milk on your way, you ignore the slower electric vehicles and pick a hybrid. That costs you 20 credits on your environmental app though.
When you book the car, your credit card is charged automatically. In the car first a breathalyzer checks for alcohol. You pass the test and can start the car. Your smartphone syncs with the on-board-info-system. It informs you, that your recent driving record is in the yellow zone. Meaning, for accelerating and breaking too often too hard, you were charged 120 points. There is a short message from your car insurance company, that your premium will go up by 20% for the next months. The second message on screen is from the car company. They inform you, that you have been placed on their “less favorite customer” list. Unless your driving improves, you will be charged a premium when renting cars in the future. You get on your way.
Next to the satellite navigation, the heads up display shows a picture of trees. The health of the trees symbolizes, how environmentally correct you are driving. Fuel efficiency is measured and your driving judged according to algorithms. Since it is a proprietary app, you have no way of knowing how. The trees are losing some leaves while you are driving to get to the meeting on time.
You are caught in heavy traffic. Your phone has been beeping with new messages constantly. When you reach for your smartphone to check the emails, the car is turned off automatically and immediately. A traffic violation is reported to the department of motor vehicles (DMV), your car insurance company, and the car rental company. Three messages pop up on your head up display.
The message from the DMV gives you two choices: a penalty of two points on your driving record, or booking into a drivers safety awareness program for $100 next Saturday. You cannot afford the two points, it would raise your car insurance premium. Thus you book the program. Your credit card is charged accordingly, and your smartphone receives the appointment confirmation. A calendar entry is generated automatically. When you confirm the appointment, your calendars are synced, and thus your employer is informed. The corprorate social responsibility app sends the violation to your file with human recourse and they deduct $15 from your paycheck. This is part of the “how is my driving” app, which the company installed a few weeks ago.
The second message is from the insurance company. They increase your premium by 10% for the next month. You lost track by now, how much the premium will be.
The third message is from car-to-go. They inform you, that you will be blocked from renting hybrids for the next three months. Your rental charges for electric vehicles will go up by 15%.
All this leads to you forgetting the milk again. But at least you make it to the meeting on time.
Dear Reader, if you think this is science fiction, I would have to disappoint you. The technology for all this exists, parts are in use already.
Do you want to live in a world like this? I don’t.