The internet used to be about us. It connected people so that we could communicate, share ideas, and exchange data. But all of that is over.
Enter the Internet of Things (IoT). The Internet of Things employs the same basic hardware and protocols that you and I have been using since the mid-1990s. But instead of connecting people, it is a network of interconnected smart devices — everything from your mobile phone and home thermostat to your refrigerator and automobile.
All of these things already are or will soon be “connected devices,” and as such they will be able to “talk” to each other, access resources residing in the cloud, and collect and share data about your behavior — all in an effort to make life more efficient and convenient.
This is not science fiction. The concept and technology have been gathering momentum for several decades. The tipping point — the point at which human beings were no longer the majority of users on the Internet — is generally situated in late 2008/early 2009.
It is estimated that there will be more than 26 billion connected devices by 2020. As a point of comparison, the human population of planet earth is currently estimated at 7.4 billion.
So if you are beginning to feel paranoid, you might be right. Your toaster and self-driving car will be talking about you behind your back. And what they have to say to each other and what this means for us is a question that should concern everyone.
I’m David Gunkel, and that’s my perspective.