They call it IOT.
I guess that’s meant to be clever.
But its real name is the internet of things.
Now you may be wondering - what the hell is that?
Glad you asked because that’s what I will be writing about.
My name is James and in this blog post I am going to get you started on one of the
basic ideas behind smart homes and smart technology.
That is the movement toward the internet of things.
Why the internet of things?
Have you ever seen the movie Demon Seed?
Or how about 2001: A Space Odyssey?
Or perhaps Terminator?
Those movies, whatever you may think of them, describe a future where man builds a machine with superior human like intelligence.
Then at some point machine turns on man.
But how will my iphone or ipad gain to the power to think like a human?
How will we get from my phone being that thing in my pocket to that thing that controls everything I do?
How does the smartphone become smart enough and powerful enough to kill me?
Well it may begin with the concept of iot.
As Wikipedia puts it, the internet of things is:
“…the extension of Internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects. Embedded with electronics, Internet connectivity, and other forms of hardware (such as sensors), these devices can communicate and interact with others over the Internet, and they can be remotely monitored and controlled.”
So, what causes us to move from smart phone to smart home is a technological shift where, everyday objects are no longer dumb and inanimate devices.
They have intelligence. How did they get so smart?
The smart device (phone, coffeemake, tv, refrigerator) is interacting with you and learning about you, gathering data.
That data is sent directly to huge computer systems over the internet that processes that data so that the smart device and get even smarter and more efficient.
The smarter more efficient the device, the more you will like it, interact with it and ultimately need it.
The path to Skynet is born out of innovation, laziness and greed.
The moral question
Let’s take each apart for a moment.
Innovation is a fancy way of saying we came up with a great idea that is fresh and new and will make your life much better.
Laziness is the basic desire to do as little work as possible. Not always a bad thing.
I think sometimes doing less work opens up more time in one's schedule for having fun, resting or coming up with new innovative ideas.
And finally, greed.
Here’s where it gets interesting (and politically only one person running for president, Andrew Yang has a plan to deal with this).
The future that brings about HAL is a movement toward automation.
Automation increases productivity and lowers cost which means more money in rich folks pocket.
It also means, not needing to hire human bodies who get tired, sick or want a raise.
It means using machines that are smarter, faster and have a higher level of endurance than a humans.
Imagine the day when planes fly themselves, cars drive themselves and people are no longer needed to stand at a register at your local grocery store.
Are we there yet?
This future is not far off.
Tesla already has self driving cars and the good folks at Uber are hard at work building a fleet of driverless vehicles.
The New York Times reports, flight simulators show computers are able to land a plane and NBC News reports Airbus is building a fleet of driverless air taxis dubbed Vahana.
And the cashier less grocery stores?
Well they’re already here. Check out this story about a Sam’s Club without a teller and Amazon “Go” stores with no lines and no people. All you need is your phone.
Businesses are investing millions and even billions right now for the future where they will reap the benefits of internet of things concepts made real.
And the first to successfully make it to the market will rule the world
Where does the smart home come in?
Internet of things concepts and approach has to start small.
You are not going to walk into your corner grocery store and see a T1000 standing there.
No, it's going to start where you spend most of your life interacting with technology.
That is your smartphone and your house.
Again from Wikipedia:
In the consumer market, IoT technology is most synonymous with products pertaining to the concept of the "smart home", covering devices and appliances (such as lighting fixtures, thermostats, home security systems and cameras, and other home appliances) that support one or more common ecosystems, and can be controlled via devices associated with that ecosystem, such as smartphones and smart speakers.
Having a system in the home that controls everything is going to be key.
Some tech enthusiast use nas systems from Qnap or Synology.
Some even go as far as to build their own diy enterprise server with open source systems like Unraid.
I will go over these systems in depth in another blog post, but what is most common is using a smart phone to control the home.
Here we see apps being built for iOS and Google that will control everything from your refrigerator to your window blinds to your doorbell.
So, you may be asking, does the world really have to end up with our smartphones trying to kill us?
The internet of things is not the end, it is the beginning.
It is the start of a great shift.
And during this time, the question is not how the computers will treat us, but how we will treat each other.
How will businesses treat its customers once a real person is replaced by a computer?
How will an employer treat its employees once sophisticated AI is introduced into the system that can do their jobs 1000x faster?
Will people be unable to find work?
Will shopping, dining and travelling involve less interpersonal human to human contact and a much colder interaction with man and machine?
And how will we see each other, treat each other in this day and age?
Big profound questions await us with the internet of things.
Let's hope we’re ready!