Imagine roads where driverless cars are everywhere. You no longer own a car; you simply call for one when you are ready to leave.
Imagine a refrigerator that anticipates your moves. It can order foods as they become low or run out. You can plug in what’s for dinner, and have it place an order based on your needs.
Imagine a bracelet wrapped around your wrist, monitoring your important vitals. If can remind you when to take medicine, record your daily activities, even make suggestions via your doctor on ways to improve your life.
Doesn’t sound so futuristic, does it?
The Internet of Things is changing our world like never before. It’s opening up the doors for exciting opportunities. And with it comes the good and bad.
Right now, the Internet of Things is being created resembling the Wild West. We’re taking what we know about Internet growth and applying all we’ve learned to this new frontier. But is that the right way?
First, it’s important to understand the magnitude of what the Internet of Things will bring to the table.
When the Internet first entered our lives, we accessed it via one machine: a computer. It was relatively easy to teach someone how to keep their computers safe; updates and patches were mandatory.
But the Internet of Things goes beyond a stand-alone computer on our desk. It touches almost everything in our lives. Hitting "yes" when your mobile device asks if it can upgrade an app is easy; will you remember to upgrade your refrigerator on your own?
It’s not just upgrading that will keep you safe and secure. It’s also about privacy. Your refrigerator may know when you run out of double chocolate ice cream; it may order it for you on a regular basis. But do you really want to provide that information to marketers without your knowledge? You may not care about your ice cream habits, but what about more sensitive areas of your life?
Because once everything in your life is connected and running via AI technology, your whole world will be an open book. You'll ask different questions. You'll be faced with new challenges. Legal and policy challenges will bear their heads.
Will your mobile device be considered expert material on the witness stand?
And what happens when certain technologies go away, companies fail, or simply change course?
If no one is there to update and monitor a technology, will we have to throw it away?
Will we have abandoned “cities” where nothing but the old technology exists between the walls?
While we can and have allowed the Internet of Things to develop in Wild West magnitude, it may be time to stop and think about our future. Should underlying protocols be in place? Should we be planning for universal design rather than allowing everyone to approach it on their own? What will our world be like in 10 years, and what will we do if nobody is there for updates and patches?
While the answers might not affect us much today, they will be a part of our daily lives tomorrow.