Saturday, February 15, 2014

IoT: The "Internet of Things"

Soon I will know if I forgot to take my thyroid pill because the bottle will "know" if it was opened that morning. This is the coming of age of IoT, the "Internet of Things". If the internet enables "any to any" connectivity (computers, mobile devices to users, businesses and to each other), then IoT connects things to users, businesses, as well as to other things - all things - including appliances, aircraft, automobiles, medical devices, environmental sensors - you name it!  This soon-to-be pervasive telecommunications technology enables autonomous intercommunication machine-to-machine (M2M) data transfer. Who needs good short-term memory anymore?

For example, the State Department was equipping US passports with RFID (radio frequency identification) tags whose data could be read up to 30 ft away via equipment purchased on eBay for $250! The new generation of tags is more secure. But as technology becomes more entwined with physical objects and processes, the consequences of security failure escalates... how will humans handle the dangers of being almost completely subservient to the net? Will internet-connected machines become the useful idiots to malicious criminals? And if a machine makes a wrong decision, what happens then?! Who or what is held accountable?