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The Internet Of Things


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Internet of ThingsReading the news this morning I came across an interesting article about a company in Sweden planting microchips under their employees skin and it got me thinking.

The company was using a pretty simple microchip that could unlock doors and start copiers.

Microchips and The Internet Of Things

If you’ve spent much time reading my blog here you know that I’m all about things that would make our lives easier and safer.

I’m also about real and potential urban disasters that could happen and while there are some real security issues involved in this idea there are some really interesting possibilities as well.

Microchips that are implanted would be a great way to physically connect us to the Internet and the world around us.

It may seem a little unwelcome or even creepy to have an implant under our skin that could contain personal information.

After all, a lot of us already feel like our privacy and autonomy is compromised enough without implanting a chip that could make us a walking transmitter of our personal data.

What Is The Internet Of Things

To understand these risks and possibilities you first need to understand the term the Internet of Things.

According to Google:

Inter·net of things
noun
  1. a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.

Why Would I Want This

The first thing that I thought about when I started to hear and read about this concept was why would I want to have my everyday objects connect to the Internet?

And why on earth would I want them to be able to send and receive data that I didn’t control?

Did I really want my refrigerator to broadcast to the Internet that I was running low on milk and tell everyone what I ate.

But think about it, if the refrigerator was starting to fail and it could send a notice to the management company of the apartments where I rented that it needed repair and thus save my food from spoiling, wouldn’t that be a good thing?

We have to remember that these things that are connected to the Internet would be limited in what information they could send and receive.

So what makes the Internet of Things interesting is the term “every day objects” and the sheer numbers of ways that this could simplify, or complicate, our lives.  But it all would still be under our control.

How The Internet of Things Developed

Although the concept didn’t get a name until 1999, the Internet of Things has been thought about for decades.

internet of thingsBut the first  internet connected machine was actually a Coke machine located at Carnegie Melon University in the early 1980s.

It was upgraded to allow programmers to connect to the machine over the Internet where they could check on the status of the machine see whether or not there would be a cold drink awaiting them if they decide to make the trip down the hall to the machine.

For the most part, until recently, this idea was only used by businesses.  But lately it’s started to creep into our everyday lives as well.

Benefits of The Internet of Things

Fast forward to today when connected devices are becoming much more common.

The thing to remember is that the Internet of today is almost solely dependent upon human input for the information that it has, information that is then used by humans.

The Internet of Things just cuts us out of that pattern making it easier for those that need to access the things that could make our lives easier and safer.

You’ve probably seen the commercials on the TV about the home security system that notifies the parents when the kids arrive home from school.  Or how it can turn on the lights when you approach your home because it knows you are coming.  That is an example of the Internet of Things.

Imagine not needing to carry keys anymore because the microchip implant that you have identifies you to the doors at your home, office, and car so they can unlock automatically for you.

Imagine never having to remember passwords again because you are the password.  With just a swipe of your hand you could unlock you computer.

Here’s a big one.  Imagine that you have a device implanted that monitors your health and alerts your Doctor if you start having a problem.

Or if you are hurt in an accident the implant could alert medical responders to your medical history including drugs that you might be allergic to taking.

Problems With The Internet Of Things

But as many useful things that the Internet of Things can do, there are just as many potential problems.

The thought of people knowing even more information about me than they already do just sort of freaks me out.

Of course I’m sure that these devices and connections are going to have some sort of security that would be designed to protect our information.

But would this protect that information from determined hackers or other people that don’t have the need to know that information?

Every day you read about large companies that have their most confidential information hacked.  And these are companies that have whole departments and high grade software designed to protect them from hackers.

But, in the end, just like smart phones I think that the pluses are going to outweigh the minuses.  I’m sure that there are a lot of people like me that wouldn’t be willing to give up their smart phones despite their problems.

In the end we may not have a choice.  There are just too many benefits to businesses and medical institutions for them to avoid the use of microchips or to access and use the Internet of Things.

Whether we like it or not we may be forced to use these to remain up to date and in sync with the world around us.

We just have to hope that their security is up to the challenges that they most certainly going to face.

 

 

 

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