The world has gone through a series of major periods that shaped civilization. First, the agrarian revolution, then the industrial revolution and now we are in the middle of the technological age. The Internet is the main driving force for this age.
At first, the only way to access and use the Internet was through computers. Over time, both hardware and software improved. Now, we can access the Internet with more than just our computers. Furthermore, more people are getting connected. In fact, we have become a world of interconnected people.
However, it’s not only people getting connected, but machines and other inanimate systems as well. We have cars, homes, streets and many other things. Not only are systems connected to the internet, but also to each other. This is what many have come to call ‘the Internet of things’. Everyday items are connected to the Internet and communicate with each other.
Here’s an example to help understand this concept. Imagine that you are about to leave work on a cold evening. Before you do though, you get on your phone and open your home app. From there, you are able to tell your house to make you coffee, warm up the rooms and have music playing when you get home. All this is possible because your house and the items inside are all connected to the Internet and can ‘speak’ to each other.
For a moment, try and think of the potential that the Internet of Things has to offer! More and more devices are getting ‘smarter’. In the transport sector, driverless cars are being tested and will soon hit the roads. Cars can map out their environments as well as communicate with each other and provide traffic information. In the IT sector, Artificial Intelligence is seeing a huge progress. With more people getting home assistants such as Alexa, imagine getting purchase suggestions from your assistant based on what your friends have been purchasing. Or your fridge having the ability to tell you when your food is going bad because it knows when you ordered it through your assistant. The possibilities are endless.
With all this connectivity, there are fears of privacy being violated. Some fear that this interconnectedness may be a breeding ground for hackers. Others fear that this progress may be leading to a world ruled by machines, should they become smarter than us. What about private information being collected by the providers of these products?
To address all these fears, governments are starting to write laws in anticipation of this brave new world. The creators of these products are also looking for responsible ways to move forward. Most importantly, consumers should pave the way forward.
There is a constantly growing world of amazing potential before us. The question is:
What role will you play?