Meaning is the Internet of Things so real that machines will suddenly become self-aware, declare mankind their true enemy and plot so every coffee pot in the world comes to life at midnight and brews us our last coffee E-V-E-R? No. Definitely not.
Yes, this is another Internet of Things post but I wanted to make it different. I wanted to talk more about the difference between fantasy and reality, science fiction and actual scenarios.
There are thousands of articles out there explaining many aspects of this trend but just a bunch of them explain why we’re not there yet. You can read one in my blog if you click here
. This is where I am coming from actually so it might be a good pre-read before you dive into this article.
Why compare sci-fi to reality if they are obviously so different?
That’s a valid question but breathe in, breathe out and ask yourself the same question over and over until you realize it is actually not as bad a question as you thought it might be. There have been many discussions around how sci-fi authors have inspired scientists and how science has inspired authors. No matter who did what the fact is that you don’t need to be Ray Bradbury to imagine other worlds anymore. You can play in them if you have a PS3 or an XBOX. You can log into Netflix and watch a movie about aliens or can you can ask Siri about the SETI program
using your iPhone.
The point here being…science-fiction as a genre and our day-to-day reality is not that different yet there is a difference: no matter how fast we go, reality is slower than imagination hence all those worlds and stories are possible in our minds and we’re yet to make them real.
What does the Internet of Things concept have to do with any of this?
Another valid point yet not a very surprising one is it? Not coming from the point I tried making above I guess (the only valid difference between sci-fi and reality for this article being the speed of imagination vs the speed of realization), but still it might help if I put it in other words.
I believe that there is a lot of Magical Thinking
around the Internet of Things concept. We can also say there’s a lot of Marketing around it but having been in the IT industry for a long time I can tell you, one thing is trying to understand concepts such as SOA and the other one is connecting a concept into the collective global audience or mind.
The Internet of Things is granted a lot of virtues and powers it just doesn’t have, like making coffee pots sentient beings looking to free themselves from humans who enslave them. That only happens in the worst possible movies and books by the way. Or in a nightmare.
But the devices, the apps, the intelligent EVERYTHING that’s been promoted out there, isn’t it true?
Some of it…yes. For instance, everything you can do today through a smartphone and all the apps that run inside, that’s true. You might be reading this article through one of those devices right now. Also there’s stuff like Nest
, which is really only useful if you live in well developed countries. What about drones? You’ve probably heard everyone suddenly wants to legislate something around the use of drones, when right now they are nothing but flying cameras, and not that cool one yet: they depend on humans, as well as every other device out there.
Intelligent cars? We’re barely taking the first stabs at the subject. And have you seen the traffic in any big city in the world? Do you think AI could do better than humans? Only possible way to do so is removing the human factor completely…from roads, and let the promised clever cars to do the driving.
Think of that example again and now answer your question: some of it is true…but there’s so much stuff to fix or solve before it becomes a reality that I think it’s safe to say it won’t happen within the next few years.
Will we get there?
My inner sci-fi fan just screamed YES!! I wish he’s right. I just watched Interstellar and the same as when I saw Contact, my heart skipped a beat. How far are we from moments such as the ones depicted in those movies? What’s needed to get there? Are we moving in the right direction?
I wish we are but my inner fan is not alone there. I am also an IT professional and I’m in touch with a some of the technology that powers stuff we use every day, and that’s when reality puts up a huge gap to imagination in my head. The good part is that there is indeed a bridge between the two and it is in construction right now through the many things like the Internet of Things that are out there.
The Internet of Things is just a way to designate what’s happening right now so I’d say don’t put your money to that concept. It is just the beginning. Tons of things need to happen (some might be happening already of course) before we can really look at appliances as if they might one day rebel against us. Some of those things will surprise us, and there might even be moral discussions around how to use some of them but trust me, you can still sleep soundly and safely and leave your coffee pot in peace. It won’t try to kill you.
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