The Smart Tool With Stupid Features

Ben Brooks, speaking on how our smart-devices should be doing more for us with all the hardware is capable of:

"Again, these (ideas) are not technically impossible, they just haven’t been done. The integrations aren’t there, APIs not available. They’ve probably been thought about, explored, tested, but never released.

And that’s extremely frustrating because everything seems to be in place to make something really good into something transforming, but it hasn’t happened. Why?

My iPhone is with me almost every waking moment of everyday, and yet it doesn’t know when it should be silent and when it should be loud. Really?

Doesn’t it seem stupid that at 3am, my phone could detect that my home is dead silent and instead of blaring an urgent phone call at full volume — because that’s where I accidentally left the setting — the phone says “hey I know, let’s turn down the volume since it might give this person a heart attack… Let’s make this thoughtful instead of dumb.""

Ben makes some terrific points and pitches some terrific ideas for what is basically an untapped corner of smartphones today. Our devices that we carry around on us or near us every waking minute don't make any effort to learn much from how we use them, where we take them, and what they can do to help us with that information. That sort of data really is all there, and it's untapped, waiting for someone to take that potential and bring it to reality.

I'd describe that as a human element of smartphones which as of yet hasn't been realized by a technology company. These aren't new ideas either;, we as humans have been talking about the devices always 5 years out that will learn what we like and don't like, and how to be most helpful to us. The technology hasn't always been there, but its here now, and no company has taken the next step yet. That step probably won't be an easy one, and if not implemented correctly this sort of a service/feature would be more of an annoyance than if it didn't exist at all. This sort of thing will take a lot of effort to get right, and the way I see it Apple is better poised than any other company to attempt this sort of thing because they control the whole stack. Hardware and software.

Its not up to me to tell Apple what to do, but if any company will be able to get that huge step right, money's on them.