The Economist recently discussed the possible direction and consequences of advances in mobile phone technology. A good summary appears at LunchoverIP, with some of the consequences including "in a decade's time a typical phone will have enough storage capacity to be able to video its user's entire life" and "chances are that phones will not only look very different - they may
not even be seen. They may be hidden in jewellery or accessories, or
even embedded in the body."
Which will have yet further catastrophic effects on business models that rely on scarcity and control of imaginary gateways. But the thing that struck me most is that as phones get a bit smaller and a bit more powerful, phones that "have enough storage capacity to be able to video its user's entire life" will render more-or-less impossible crimes against the person. Someone approaches you - your phone photographs their face, sends that photo off to a server somewhere. They attack you, you send the photo to the police. Remember the serial burglar caught on webcam (BBC)? Now imagine walking around with that facility constantly, mobilely available. There goes mugging, rape and a whole list of other crimes that rely on anonymity. Much as today crime is closely correlated with the availability of streetlighting, perhaps the blackspots of tomorrow will be the wifi dead zones.