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Dear Santa II: The follow up letter

Paul Brislen, Editor. 18 December 2019, 5:00 am

Hi Santa, hope you're still on top of things. Are the elves all using Trello this year or are they on Teams? You can usually tell because of the stress levels. Ask Rudolph - I'm sure he can explain to you.

Next on my list is a bit more kit please. You know I'm a fan of smartphones (especially the really cool ones on Season Four of The Expanse but that's probably a few years away yet) but I do think we might have reached peak smartphone, at least in their current form.

What I am highly interested in is the growth and shift in the wearable computing market. Apple's loaned me some AirPod Pros to play with and well, let me tell you they're astounding. The noise cancellation is like nothing I've ever tried and the integration with my phone is ridiculously good.

But all this started me thinking again about the future direction smart and personal devices must take. The phone is a bit clumsy when you're out and about but as the platform device that enables everything else, it's quite cool. When I'm wandering about I don't need a keyboard or a screen quite so much, so let's do away with those.  I'd like to leave my phone in my pocket and still be connected.

And having driven that astonishing electric Jaguar car earlier this year, the one with the heads-up display, you know what I'm thinking: noise-cancelling ears, visuals projected onto my glasses, and voice activation for input.

What do you reckon, Santa, can we give it a go? It's 2020 after all.

If that's a bit science fiction for your liking how about we go old school and hold social media giants to account? Yes, I know I asked for this last year but honestly, this has to be high on the to-do list. Social media giants are making billions of dollars from hundreds of millions of interactions every minute and as well as the privacy implications we've already talked about there's so much more they're liable for, not least of which is spreading hate and disgusting imagery and monetising fear and despair. Time to sort that out too.

Oh and while I'm at it how about we actually have a tax system that captures some of their inanity too. Go on.

While I'm at the big end of town, and feeling peckish, I wonder if I might trouble you for some rare unicorn steaks. You know I like a good steak and while I know unicorns are mythical beasts that appear to be skinny rhinos, I'm very keen to know what they taste like.

I say this because the unicorns we've seen of late (cough cough Uber cough) have hardly lived up to their billing as a once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity and have instead because Dot Com Bubble 2.0 (or tulips v3, or The Emperor's New Clothes plus sneakers, plus cloak, plus natty hat).

If we can see an end to these companies that burst forth, claim to be doing good work and which in the end turn out to be a 21st Century sweatshop with no real benefit for employees and no real upside for users but plenty of upside for their fratboy founders, that would be swell.

Which brings me to my last wish, albeit not the least by far.

Santa, can I ask for the year ahead that companies and organisations that take my data and use it do so in a secure way? I'm a little over covering the countless stories of the data breaches, the bigger data breaches and yes, even the mega data breaches. Companies that can't tell me up front what they will do for cyber-security shouldn't be allowed to operate because the risk is just too great.

So that's it from me, Santa. I know you'll give this the once over it deserves. Good luck with the lack of chimneys and the inherent health and safety questions that will inevitably arise from flying around the world in an open sleigh. And the laws of physics.

And if you do need to put your feet up for a bit, can I recommend the beaches around New Zealand for a well earned break. I might even see you there myself.


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