We’ve spent the past week in my IMC class discussing the Internet of Things and Enchanted Objects. And depending on your outlook in life the future is going to be great like the Jetsons or dystopian like any number of recently popular books/movies like the Hunger Games or the Divergent Series. Let’s face it, government states and robot uprisings are not for the faint of heart so I prefer to try and focus on a world created by IoT that is similar to the Jetsons.
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS THE INTERNET OF THINGS?
According to Forbes.com:
This (IoT) is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig…The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people).
THE FUTURE IS NOW.
While this may sound like something that will happen in the future, the truth is that IoT is already happening now with wearable technology like the Apple Watch, or with home monitoring and security like the Nest, which is owned by Google. An article in Wired.com explains that:
Nest’s thermostat, for instance, doesn’t just turn itself on and off when you tell it. Over time, as the Nest Learning Thermostat uses its sensors to train itself according to your comings and goings, the entire network of Nests in homes across the country becomes smarter.
The paramount value of the devices, in a sense, likes not in the hardware itself but the interconnectedness of that hardware. As the devices talk to each other, by building an aggregate picture of human behavior, they anticipate what we want before even we know.
Another current, and probably the most recognizable, example of IoT is Tesla’s self-driving cars. It’s been almost a year since Tesla pushed out an automatic update to their cars that made them somewhat self-driving. Despite recent setbacks, Tesla is committed to moving forward and making improvements to their self-driving cars. And just like with the Nest, Tesla’s fleet is connected and continuously learning from other Tesla owners’ experiences. According to Wired.com:
Even when the system isn’t on, it’s gathering data. The radar could be triggered by a sign over the road, and think there’s something in the path. The radar image still gets geotagged, but if the driver doesn’t manually brake, and neither do several other Teslas at the same place, every Tesla everywhere will learn that it is not something to worry about.
YOU DON’T KNOW ME…YEA RIGHT.
IoT is coming whether we want it or not, and while it has the potential to solve real problems and make life better, there is some cause for concern over privacy issues. How will companies handle the data they collect from you while you are using a connected object? And what about security breaches and hackers? If I live in a smart home, then there is a real potential that my home’s system can be hacked. These are all very real concerns that business, industry, and government must address as we as a society move forward into the Internet of Things.