Sunday

Connected Technology - Be Careful What You Wish For

With the Internet of Things (IoT) concept now being pushed hard by manufacturers looking for something new to sell us, there are perils lurking alongside the convenience. Dang it, why is there always a flip side?

 
The IoT is about "connected" things, such as cars, household appliances and even the home itself. These things "speak" to you and each other via the Internet and other types of connections. Why? Mostly because the technology now exists for us to do it, I think. There is no real reason why you should run out an buy a "connected" fridge so that you can use your smartphone to check if you have enough butter while you are in the grocery store.

Apart from my usual griping about security, or the lack thereof, this connectedness means that the software in the product itself can be updated at pretty much any time by the manufacturer. "What's wrong with that?" you ask - and 10 or 20 years ago, I would have been right there with you. You want to have patches and fixes available as soon as possible, right? Surely, but who says that is all you are getting?

Consider an OTA (over the air) patch sent out to Tesla electric vehicles to increase there 0-60mph time  - pretty cool, huh?

Okay, how about a software update by a drone manufacturer to make it un-flyable in certain geographic areas? Maybe a little less cool, if you bought and paid for one of those drones.

How about the utility companies using smart meter technology to monitor and potentially control the amount of energy you use. Hmm, maybe another notch down on the "cool" scale, even if it's "green". 

Hopefully, you can see where this can go, and it's another indication that we do actually seem (sadly, depressingly) to be heading towards one of those dystopian futures the science fiction writers seem to love, where we are all just little cogs in the wheel and have our lives managed and directed for us.

Or maybe I am just a grumpy Old Goat.

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