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So much current technology is designed to distract – to capture brief attention, to place adverts for a few seconds in front of eyeballs – that it’s easy to imagine the future as more of the same.

Forget smartwatches, smartcars will drive the next revolution


Wearable technology is fleetingly entertaining, but when get into our cars we take our lives in our hands

Enough of Apple Watches. Tucked into Tim Cook’s keynote on Monday was a nod to something much more significant. “Every major car brand,” he declared, “has committed to delivering CarPlay, with more than 40 new models of cars shipping with CarPlay, only a year after launch.”

CarPlay – Cupertino’s proprietary twin to Google’s Android Auto – is Apple’s recipe for integrating its devices with every vehicle in the world. And while you may never have heard of either, they offer a window into the most intriguing environment around for debating our future relationships with technology.

Why do I think that a field I sincerely hope won’t become known as “drivables” matters more than wearables? Because, despite the hype, technologists have yet to demonstrate that most people either need or want to connect their smartphones to their wrists and faces. When it comes to driving and being driven, however – or simply sharing a public space with vehicles of any kind – we’re already knee-deep in unrealised needs, anxieties and desires.

For those of us who do drive, the moment we get behind the wheel we are embarking upon the most skilled, perilous and logistically fraught act of our daily lives. We’re sitting inside the most expensive hunk of consumer technology we own. We’re expected to operate this pricey and potentially lethal device safely, in public, alongside tens of thousands of other people.

And we have also brought with us a world of information that we wish seamlessly to connect to our vehicle’s systems – which in turn demands intuitive, hands-free interactions like voice control and context-sensitive response. Little wonder tech companies are salivating over the prospects.

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