Is Smart Making Us Dumb?

A revolution in technology is allowing previously inanimate objects — from cars to trash cans to teapots — to talk back to us and even guide our behavior. But how much control are we willing to give up?Would you like all of your Facebook FB -0.56% friends to sift through your trash? A group of designers from Britain and Germany think that you might. Meet BinCam: a “smart” trash bin that aims to revolutionize the recycling process.BinCam looks just like your average trash bin, but with a twist: Its upper lid is equipped with a smartphone that snaps a photo every time the lid is shut. The photo is then uploaded to Mechanical Turk, the Amazon-run service that lets freelancers perform laborious tasks for money. In this case, they analyze the photo and decide if your recycling habits conform with the gospel of green living. Eventually, the photo appears on your Facebook page.You are also assigned points, as in a game, based on how well you are meeting the recycling challenge. The household that earns the most points “wins.” In the words of its young techie creators, BinCam is designed “to increase individuals’ awareness of their food waste and recycling behavior,” in the hope of changing their habits.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324503204578318462215991802.html

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