Do modern users want phones from 1984?

Big brother

ANALYSIS Most years at Intel's Developer Forum (IDF) Justin Rattner's keynote speech about future technologies is the most eagerly anticipated.

In 2010, the chief technology officer (CTO) did not disappoint. He intrigued the audience with details of a research project from deep in the labs of Intel around what he called "context aware computing."

The basis of the idea is to allow devices to learn about their users through a raft of sensors.

Firstly, there are the soft sensors many of us already use regularly on our smartphones - things like our calendars, emails and phonebooks.

Then are the hard sensors, only currently tapped into by a small range of applications, such as reading your heart rate or responding to your movements.

By placing the raw data from these two types of sensors together, a device would be able to draw conclusions from the user, be it mapping out a route to a lunch meeting with a client through to the extreme of working out how you are feeling and finding content to suit your mood.

These sensors will be able to draw vast amounts of data but do we want our portable devices to know this much about us and what would be the implications?