The Internet of Things: Where Do We Draw The Line?
“Siri, what’s it like outside?”
“Kind of low. It is a moderate 28 degree Celsius with no signs of winds or sunlight in the next two hours.”
“What’s my schedule?”
“You don’t really have one. Today is a Sunday, the 28th of May that is, a non-working day for you. Although, there will be plays going on at the London American Hall. “
“And what time are these”
“The wheel of Achilles is scheduled for 1600 hours and Marty and Cole for 2030 hours.”
“Hmmm, what’s in the fridge?”
“Hmmm, let me see. A carton of milk and a kilo of tomatoes. You need shopping.”
It is 5.30 in the morning and I am lying on the bed, still wound in my quilt. My eyes are still closed struggling to adjust with the daylight and my schedule for the day is decided for me, who am I going to meet? What am I going to do? No screens swiped, no buttons clicked.
Do you remember those days in kindergarten, where our teacher would ask us things like what would you want your bottle to do? And we, exploiting all our creative energy would try to give out the most crazy replies like
“I’d want it with an inbuilt ice-maker!”
“I’d want it to be made of paper!”
Laughable yet, innovative. What about those fables we read as a child with talking teapots and screeching cars? Well, I do remember myself talking to our car for almost an hour after those. Twenty years have gone by and here, I find myself doing the same thing yet, again. But all that has changed, is more than I can imagine.
Here we are, living in a world of virtual secretaries and talking cars. There’s a lot more to come and trust me, you won’t be surprised. They call it ‘the internet of things’; a world where not just each one of us but each of what we own too is wired in a extensive connection of another thing called the internet.
AC behaving erratically? No problem. The activated parts of your AC dealing with the problem directly send out a signal to the ‘gateway’ of the AC which screens this data and sends out relevant information to the manufacturer’s database.
Through this, the manufacturer can closely look into the parts which are causing the trouble and develop cures for each and control future problems. As for you, via the information shared the company sends you alerts on the status of your device and gets you in connection with the nearest help centers for the same. Being in connection with other such ACs, the company gets to detect all such problems and pinpoint their actual cause if they’re built in the same factory, assembled on the same day or had used the similar parts. This further helps the company to build better products, the factory towards a cross-checked and guided process of production and a comfortable and faster solution for the consumer.
This is just one of the things that it can do for us. Well, this might not be the exact process in which all of it takes place but you got the idea, right? This way, we can clearly see that the Internet of things is a clear, red-carpeted win-win on all sides. A realistic dream for all of us. So, where’s the catch? It can’t all be this bright, right?
What we don’t see are the surmounts of all we’re giving out in order to receive these bits of information. As smartphone users, we don’t look twice when our apps ask us for access to all our media, photos and downloaded data and a lot more stuff we wouldn’t even want our best friend to see. In bargain of a doorstep cab or our favourite playlist, we are ready to expose these prima donna apps into every corner of our personal life. This is so not ending here. With technologies like IoT we are only further encouraging this exchange except that now, it’s not just notifications or statuses they have access to but from the very amount of milk that is stored in our refrigerator. Do we really want all such information to be out there?
Today, we live in a world where all our decisions from which restaurant suits our flavours to which spouse best matches our qualities are decided by………..yes, our dear internet again. How do they do this? On the basis of all this data that we provide them and all that their software already possesses? What are coming to?
“Siri, could you get me a boyfriend?”
Are we zoning out of the times when our internal instincts, interwoven feelings and emotions had a considerable stake in what we thought? To err, is human and to glitch, is digital. Our self-taken steps have causes, history and personalities embedded; giving reason to all what we do. But what about these warehouses of technology? Are these capable of trust over our own self?
The Spinning jenny took away the jobs of the daily wage mill workers, the drones took away the jobs of those part-time delivery guys and likewise, the IoT is deemed to trap and replace the cubicle guys with its net of things.
But don’t worry, we’ll have an app to take care of that too, soon.