Internet of Thongs

I'll rant a bit incoherently now, sorry.

There's now a tweeting refridgerator. Unsurprisingly, nobody cares about what happens inside the refridgerator. An inanimate thing - so far - has very little actually interesting to say, which is really my problem with the whole "Internet of Things".

Now, a massive portion of the internet traffic is already from things talking to other things - all sorts of automated alerts, checks, gossip is ongoing where machines are trying to keep track of other machines, and only a tiny percentage of those messages are ever shown to a human being: a machine will check the state of another machine, and only when it crashes, is a human alerted to go and fix the thing. In some cases, really smart systems can tell the human ten minutes in advance that it's going to crash, and we consider that progress. But this is all just stuff that engineers have developed to make their lives easier - and I'm seeing a lot of that in the Internet of Things as well.

So I'm a bit - well, not even a bit - sceptical about whether the Internet of Things really changes anything. Yes, surveillance becomes easier. Yes, your life becomes a bit more efficient. But that's just progress. The benefit of the phone in your pocket wasn't because phones could talk to each other - it was because you could talk to some other human being. Connecting people, as they say. So I just can't really see why things talking to other things would be disruptive, because they just don't have anything interesting to say.

What the Internet of Things needs to evolve to is the Internet of Stories: Creating an emotional connection between humans and machines. Become the real, first step towards the post-singularity period - 'cos if we don't make the machines care about us, they will overrun us in the name of the efficiency we have been teaching them. Our things should be able to tell stories about themselves and their relation to the world: who owned them, who cared about them. I don't want to see furry dolls talking to each other in incomprehensible code; I want them telling who they are and how they played with their last owner. In my mind, the proper model for the Internet of Things is "Toy Story", not "Matrix".

But anyway. Just a smallish rant for the bemusement of those who actually work on this stuff. I'm sure this isn't a new opinion, but I'm too lazy to google for references today.


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"Main_blogentry_260913_1" last changed on 26-Sep-2013 12:49:12 EEST by JanneJalkanen.