Cisco Visualization | The Internet of Things


Cisco Visualization | The Internet of Things.

As you contemplate this infographic, I predict you will have one of these three reactions, quite possibly in this order. First, data-overload shock. Second, fright bordering on terror. Third, a white-hot flash of insight into what could be for your life and family.  This latter could  range from puzzlement, through confusion, to joy,  to unease,  and back to profound fright bordering on terror.

Try to visualize every piece of mechanical and electronic equipment which you touch or which touches you or anything which impacts your life. The doorknob of your house has a sensor and knows who touches it and when and from which side. It talks to  the air conditioner, etc. Imagine this universe of things which surrounds you in which all “things” are interconnected and programmed to absorb and react to one another’s changes.  At 3 AM your normal 7AM train is rescheduled for 7:30; your alarm clock shifts to wake you up 30 minutes later; your car’s auto-start shifts forward only 25 minutes because it is very cold and the engine needs to warm up longer. Etc. throughout the day for all parts of your day which are time-fixed events.  Lunch time with boss does NOT move; your meeting with the marketing department gets shorter. Automatically.

Who will regulate all these interactions and the enormous amounts of data about our lives and habits that will be generated within this ubiquitous system?

What happens to the address?  Is it possible we will revert to the paper and envelope letter, given that even the fact we send an email or make a mobile call or text will have data-sharing implications? Remember, letters are “sealed against inspection”.  Maybe they will be exempt.

But even the letter many not be a refuge.  The ubiquitous sensing universe would know, at minimum, the following: when you wrote it, where, how long it took, what you used to write it, when you mailed it and where,  to whom and where it was addressed, how much it cost, when it arrives and by what route, and, potentially,  changes in your breathing and body temperature and heart beat as you went through the process of writing, and the same data of the addressee as he or she read it.  In time, algorithms would evolve which would enable a depiction of your entire mental state surrounding the creation of that letter, and that of the addressee as they read it.

The Internet of Things will force us to make profound and far-reaching choices about personal data collection and use.  The addresses of “things”, as well as people, will be vital knowledge.  But the era of a world where things “know” everything will have to be confronted, and hard choices made about what happens to the data collected by the “Internet of Things”.  That conversation needs to happen, and soon.

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