This post might just devolve into me dreaming of a cyberpunk future, so you’ve had your warning.
So over the course of the last couple of years, we’ve had this growing ability to connect things. We’ve got this great internet now and it’s awesome because it connects people to people all over the world. A thousand minds all working together in a gigantic brain. It’s truly awesome. But why would we stop there?
If you want a cup of coffee in the morning, you have to get up and make it. What if, based on what time you’ve set your alarm, you radio says to your coffee machine, “Yo dawg, Steve’s gonna get up soon. Get going on that coffee!” and your coffee machine goes, “You’re not the boss of me, but for Steve’s sake, I’ll do it.” This is what the internet of things would be. Rather than just people being connected to the internet (albeit through their computer) your “things” can be connected as well.
That’s really cool right? I’d love a set up like that. We’re not really that far away from that as it is. You can program apps for your phone that’ll send messages like that, the talking coffee machine isn’t that big a leap.
That’s what people are working on right now! I’m quite excited for what this means. If your car can talk to other cars it can tell you that it’s not worth driving, you should get the train. Or you can tell your house to let certain people in (made especially easy if people have arphids in them). The thing is though, where does this end… I like having all my stuff connected to me, and I do get tired of people sometimes, but as you can see in that video towards the end <<SPOILERS FOLLOW>> his house convinces him to ignore the call from his girlfriend.
When it gets to the point where machines have personalities, and they can care for you (as they do in that video) what are they entitled to? Does it really matter that they’re governed by just code? If they’re able to respond and talk and think and have social networks, what are these things? Have our toys become human? As excited as I am to be able to talk to my cereal bowl, because the morning is evil, I don’t know how I’ll react if it tells me I’m it’s best friend. Would it be cruel to keep these things with opinions locked up serving us? Would it still be cruel if we made them want to do nothing but serve us?
I don’t know about you, but this Internet of Things should be exciting.