The Reliance On Things
Building the Internet of Things is not a process that happens overnight, nor is it being built by any single entity. Every device that is capable of connecting to the internet automatically becomes part of the Internet of Things. It’s an ever expanding network that isn’t going to exist, it already exists.
This network feeds off data. It requires it in order to function and provide us with the conveniences that we enjoy in our daily lives. Every day millions of smartphones upload location data to various apps and servers to provide you with a better user experience.
There’s a common phrase in today’s mobile world: “There’s an app for that.” The things that a smartphone is capable of today weren’t even possible ten years ago. It can be done now because all these devices can interact and share data with each other.
You can know when your friend has “checked-in” at a local bar, or automatically send a text message to your significant other when you leave your work because all that data is shared.
The Tesla Model S represents the future of automotive technology – providing a car that is fully electric and run by a computer. It can connect to a wireless access point, tether to your smartphone, or even take its own SIM card for a data connection.
With built-in navigation, voice recognition, and the ability to stream any song you ask it to, the Model S is breaking out of the traditional mold we have for devices that are “smart” .
This future sounds great. Anything and everything we can think of will be at our fingertips, oftentimes appearing before we even ask for it. But at what cost? Today, companies like Facebook provide their customers with an unbelievable amount of data that their users freely gave to them.
This data can be used to build complicated profiles to better serve ads that are targeted specifically to individual people. Users are not the customers of social networking sites, they’re the inventory. People freely exchange their privacy for a more “convenient” world to live in.
Where does it end? At what point do we as humans become so reliant on technology doing everything for us that we can’t do even the simplest tasks ourselves? Today if the power is out for an extended period of time, most people would not know how to grow or hunt their own food to survive. What happens in 50 years time when an extended power outage means we can’t even get out of bed because we won’t know what to do – at all?
I love technology. I have a passion for it. But a world run entirely by machines is not my idea of paradise. Is it yours?
This article first appeared in Memorial University’s student newspaper: The Muse April 4, 2013