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Planning Retirement Online

Keeping up!

What will the world be like when the next young generation reaches 50 or more?

Technology is just changing everything, take vending machines for instance. These have already changed dramatically in our life time. From those little machines that would issue just one small chocolate bar at railway stations but only when you popped in the exact coinage to modern high tech boxes that drop down whatever you want from a big choice of visual products and even give the right change too, public vending machines have come a long way.

Now it seems they have gone one step further.

A new Luce X2 Touch TV vending machine is the first in the world to use facial recognition technology.

But not only that. The machine will keep records of you, your requirements, possibly your medical records - the potential is extraordinary – so that it could actually refuse to serve you with something deemed to be damaging for your own personal age or situation – cigarettes or high fat product or even sugary foods for diabetics.

Already of course there are the detractors – this could be infringing customers’ freedom of choice and buying rights.

But it seems protection will be introduced to ensure only limits are put on in authorised circumstances, maybe at schools or hospitals.

For most of us, it could mean that we simply go up to our favourite vending machine in a shopping centre perhaps, stand in front of it and it will automatically know that we like a cappuccino with two sugars. The machine will be cash less or course – no more fiddling with coins; it will be able to read what it needs from your mobile phone (even while still in your pocket) so that you are charged automatically for your purchase.

There will be options of course for you to add or detract from regular requirements. What is exciting is that evidently this machine is about ready to made available for sale.

This follows on from the virtual shopping systems that have been introduced. Tesco was one of the first to introduce this at a Korean railway station three years ago now, where you hop off the train, push a few buttons, and hopefully your shopping will be delivered at your door as you arrive home; or you can pick it up on your way home.

This is now being updated with new technology but it really won’t be long before we are doing more and more virtual shopping.

One of the latest developments I have seen is virtual piano playing which you do through a computer. This sounded interesting until I saw an added button – silent play. Maybe it is our age, for I am sure I am not alone in wondering whether playing a musical instrument without any noise at all really is a step too far!

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