Ever walk into your home at the end of the day and wonder if someone else has been there?
A door is closed that never gets shut. A figurine faces north when it normally faces east. The bathroom walls are full of blood spatter that you don’t remember spattering.
It’s not an issue for me—I have traps, laser trip wires, facial recognition cameras, and C02 exhalation sensors. But the less paranoid—who are still somewhat paranoid—may have this issue.
What about your bed? The covers are a little too mussed, the indentations all off. You have a spouse or a querida, but you know their patterns. Your internal security camera system has geofencing, but that activates when neither of you are at home.
You are also Spanish, live in Barcelona, and live in constant fear of infidelity. Your dog, Picasso, is no help; any stranger with food can win his heart in an instant.
You are 5’11”, 183 pounds, and you walk with a slight limp—a legacy of your days as a professional soccer player and the many fights you initiated on the field…
Wait, back up, forget that last part. You’re just a nondescript human being who wonders if your spouse is cheating on you. A Spanish inventor has your back. He’s invented the “Smartress” a smart mattress that detects and notifies you of “questionable usage.”
There are already plenty of smart mattresses (I call them SuperBeds) on the market. They gather data on sleep cycles, change temperature on command, incorporate alarms, integrate with the home, play white noise, and more.
But this is the first one designed with a “lover detection system.” The Popular Science article suggests that the inventor designed this specifically to tackle the epidemic-level infidelity problem in Spain. The bed sends a real-time text warning so you can race home and catch your loved one in the act.
I’m not particularly interested in this specific gadget. If you’re worried enough about cheating to buy an expensive super smart mattress, then the relationship probably isn’t working. And doesn’t your cheating spouse see that you just bought a new fancy smart mattress and simply move the infidelity to the couch?
But the mattress does fascinate me as another contribution to the technological disruption of privacy. Many have wondered if we’re heading toward a time in which all questionable acts—infidelity, theft, murder, not washing your hands before you leave the bathroom—will become impossible to achieve anonymously.
Do we reach a point where everything you touch registers your presence and identity? The walls, the floor, the chairs at the coffee shop?
Or perhaps cameras will become both ubiquitous and smart enough so “things” don’t have to be smart anymore. You won’t wear a Fitbit to track your steps; you will just pay membership to a public camera company that counts for you because there is nowhere you can’t be seen…
Yeah, yeah, future.
Let’s get back to your Spanish life.
You still get fan letters from your professional soccer days. Not nearly as many—you’re 42 now, rarely on the television, but you’re are still a public figure. As the new head of Barcelona university team, you have found a purpose again, training the next generation of stars to represent your country on the world stage.
But this evening, instead of fan letters, you find a small package waiting on your doorstep. Inside the package is a vial of human teeth, each painted with the trademark blue and red stripes of FC Barcelona, your old pro team…