If you're already paranoid about companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook having access to your personal information, the findings of a recent study by Gartner Research may push you over the edge. By 2017, you could be sending personal data to more than 100 apps and services everyday thanks to the proliferation of smart home and wearable devices.
You won't even be aware you're sending this information thanks to what the study calls "cognizant computing," which "takes intelligent actions on behalf of users based on their historical data, preferences and rules." This means that your apps will make decisions, such as when to turn on the heat or open your garage door, based on information such as your location, habits and demographic data. To do this, the apps will collect that data, which will be uploaded to a cloud and processed, before it is reported to or exercised by the user. Such apps already exist, such as Google Now, which can tell when you're running late for meetings or when you're searching for your flight information and serve you relevant information.
Wearable computing will account for 50 percent of all app use by 2017, according to the study, possibly sending richer information to the servers of their makers. Since most of this data is used to predict your preferences in an effort to be more "intelligent", the information isn't likely to be able to identify you exactly, so there is no reason to panic yet. That is, of course, until the NSA decides it wants in on this data.