The Internet of Things (IoT) is the thing that will change everything, including humans. Interconnecting uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing Internet infrastructure and allowing interaction and data exchange is said to be the recipe to facilitate life, improve business and raise efficiency.
Data is already the gold mine and the competition is between those who try to derive applicable knowledge from it in close to real time. It’s not only about how you collect data but when and where you do that. A practically good answer is around the clock and everywhere. You do need a lot of things to do that; and to be able to have the data at your finger tip immediately or sent to a particular thing, there is no better medium than the Internet.
At face value this looks so great and obviously, there are endless cases for peaceful and innocent uses for IoT. Imagine being able to receive early warning of natural disasters, receiving in-time health advice based on condition and location, tracking a lost car (or tank), an expensive machine able to fix itself, being able to watch your kids or pets from work and protect your home while on vacation or your fridge ordering healthy food only and specific for your taste – to name a few. The question worth asking is this: is thingful life the way to go?
The data flow remains at the center of this discussion because this is what IoT is all about. There are technical and legal aspects to this issue. Who has the right to access, process and utilize your data in the first place? And who can do that, not only by law, but through either technical abilities or security holes and other leaks in the systems?
You have a medical smart bracelet and soon you find out that not only your medical insurance retrieves all your medical history and other related habits, but also your local store, your employer, the person who competes with you in the next round and the handful of major advertisers who target all your devices and sensors with highly targeted (personalized) commercials.
Although the main driving force behind IoT is financial (commercial), the fear from falling into the wrong hands may outweigh the financial gains very soon. It may not take long before beneficiaries try to make it part of the everyday life everywhere – reduced cost of ownership, rules and regulations; and forcefully by channeling major services through dependent channels.
Major catastrophes may occur when IoT becomes the next generation of warfare. We have witnessed the development of unconventional weapons of the past, including biological and genetic ones. After laser guided missiles to target a specific coordinate, death merchants may have already found ways not only to target specific individuals but probably have choices of how to neutralize them, change their way of thinking or reverse engineer their plans. The same could even apply to certain races en masse (taking into account that many conflicts are racial and the various cases of genetic and biological experiments getting out of control). This assumption does not rule out economic conflicts or even financial ones – after all, many nations are practically bankrupt and traditional enemies are holding the keys to their financial respirators.
Before we are fully thingified, we should stop and reconsider carefully before we jump on this wagon. It’s not only our privacy that is at stake, but our health, possessions, values and personal lives. It’s not just a question of receiving uninvited solicitation or having your envious neighbor spoil your smart dish. Before even thinking about the future of our thingfully raised children, we should notice that the drums of the Third World War are already beating and very loudly. You can be tracked by the tweet you send, the photo you upload to your timeline, the smart watch around your wrist, a tiny chip in your belt, the chat you do online, the car you ride or even the dirty wall you pass by.
Of course, technology itself is not evil but those who abuse it are. You should outsmart any smart device you use or come close to. If not, you are just a victim waiting its turn. The new sensor is the next generation drone!