The Internet Of Things, Our New Way Of Life

We are definitely living in the future; everything is becoming part of the matrix by being internet connected. It is commonly known as the "Internet of Things". And it refers to things that are in our normal day to day life that are now connected to the internet and collecting data. Appliances, lights, cars, factories, cameras, thermostats and even whole cities are now "online" and reporting back to us.

Now that computers are becoming smarter, smaller and requiring less power, their brains are being added to an array of formerly dumb devices in all aspects of our lives, even when we are on the road. These devices are now equipped with sensors that are connected to the internet, allowing the data it's collecting to be stored in the cloud, analyzed and used for reporting purposes or for optimizing performance.

It raises some interesting ethical questions however. Is all this data that is being collected violating about your or your property your private information and subsject to the federal privacy laws? For instance, if your thermostat is internet connected and reporting to the manufacturer about the temperature of your house, the efficiency of your equipment or your overall power consumption, is this information free to be analyzed? Is it your private data that only belongs to you? What if the government wanted to look at that data to see if you were using too much energy or putting to much strain on the local grid? Would that be okay? It is hard to say and that is what a lot of scholars are study these days.

The growing sophistication of the global Internet of Things was the focus of a HUBweek event Friday at Harvard’s Northwest Building. Speakers highlighted specific projects, including the city of Chicago’s experimental sensor network gathering several kinds of data, drones used for environmental research, smart lighting that could cut electric bills by 90 percent, the potential of a future smart energy grid to handle the variability of clean energy, and the importance of machine learning to the continued growth of the Internet of Things.

it's hard to say for sure whether this is ethical or not. The techie inside of me likes to see this kind of progress, but the other more philosophical side of me tends to feel like this is an easy way to become exploited. Take this example:  A home repair to a furnace or appliance could be scheduled just before a device breaks rather than just after, with the repair company acting on information sent from the device itself. The repairman could automatically be scheduled when you’re home because your smart devices know you have an extra cup of coffee on Saturday mornings and so are likely to be there. But would the system be as benign, Waldo asked, when you’d had your third glass of wine and the data went to your doctor and insurance agent?

I would love to hear what you think of this topic. Feel free to comment below! And call us if you would like to talk more about automating your home or office. 732-477-4005