In an article to appear on June 14, the New Scientist says that future cellphones will spend your money without asking you to do so. Here is a preview of this story.
A consortium of the world's top consumer electronics firms, mobile networks and broadcasters are funding the development of cellphones that will spend money on your behalf. The consortium, called Mobile VCE, includes Nokia, Sony, Vodafone and the BBC.
It might sound like a bankruptcy waiting to happen, but software engineer Nick Jennings is supremely confident the phones will not mess up anybody's life. Jennings's team at the University of Southampton in the UK are developing programs known as software agents for the consortium. "I see the artificial agent as more like a butler-type character," he says.
The agents will monitor what you order, and gradually, will take decisions on their own, like making hotel or rstaurant reservations for you. Scary on a first look, but you still will have some control.
The cellphone agents only offer help if triggered by a diary event or if a definite pattern of behavior, such as going to the movies every Friday, has been established.
And of course, you'll fix yourself the spending limit.
These phones should be available at the end of 2004.
Reed Business Information Limited, the New Scientist publisher, is not joking with its copyrights. So I'm reproducing here the warning posted by EurekAlert!
"These articles are posted on this site to give advance access to other authorised media who may wish to quote extracts as part of fair dealing with this copyrighted material. Full attribution is required, and if publishing online a link to http://www.newscientist.com is also required. Advance permission is required before any and every reproduction of each article in full - please contact email@example.com. Please note that all material is copyright of Reed Business Information Limited and we reserve the right to take such action as we consider appropriate to protect such copyright.
Source: New Scientist issue dated June 14, 2003 (Preview released by EurekAlert! Science News, June 11, 2003)
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