It knows when you are sleeping. It knows when you're awake. It knows if you'll be bad or good and may tell the cops one day. So forget the obvious technologies like Siri, Google, Facebook, or pregnancy-predicting Target. When it comes to technology learning your innermost secrets, your little Kinect camera sees everything. Hell, it can even tell your future.
Scientists are practically tripping over themselves finding new ways to use the Kinect's motion-capture technology to parse the mysterious world of non-verbal communication. When you talk, a lot of the information people absorb isn't what comes out of your mouth but what you say with your body, which is really all the Kinect is trained to care about.
The candid camera can recognize what a familiar person is doing 84 percent of the time and can still guess fairly accurately with a complete stranger 64 percent of the time. It knows if you're eating, brushing your teeth, or making out. Maybe one day there will be a charades game.
Whole Foods is getting in on the action with a Kinect cart that basically works like a self-checkout counter on wheels. One day soon your grocery cart will be watching you shop, checking what you buy, and maybe pop up with ads depending on what it sees you looking at. Microsoft has about 300 companies working on similar applications.
Studies in classrooms have found that the Kinect can tell if a student is learning and successfully predict their test score. Kinect can even tell if a child has ADHD by the direction their head is moving.
Car companies are funding facial recognition research to predict bad behavior in drivers. Scientists call it the "pre-accident face" but we like to call it the "uh-O face." Think about it. A camera in your dash looking at you and keeping a record of every time you look down at a text message. What if insurance companies charged you more every time you flicked someone off?
The flip side to this intuitive device is all the potential good that can come from the all-seeing eye. Cars could keep you from falling asleep. Doctors can already flip through medical scans during an operation.
So like any technology, the power of Kinect is neither good, nor bad. It's all in how we decide to use it.