Consider: Any computer connected to the Internet can and probably will eventually be hacked. Everything from supposedly secure government systems to the computer in your automobile is already at constant risk.

Consider: Either the US government, some other government, and/or a quasi-governmental corporation (like Verizon or Apple) is watching and recording everything you do on the Internet.

Consider: The more complex a computer system becomes, the more fragile it becomes. Eventually complex systems become “unfixable” because fixing one problem creates two more problems. (See: The Mythical Man Month.)

Which leads us to the “Internet of Things,” which is supposed to create a better world by computerizing everything and connecting them together.

Translated from hype into reality, the “Internet of Things” means that everything you own will be hackable, your usage of everything will be spied upon, and sometimes things will stop working for no discernible reason. (See: Windows, Microsoft)

Today people consider the convenience of connectivity more important than the risks involved. However, there may come a time when people won’t see it that way. If so, the future could be analog not digital; a future of "things" rather than a "Internet of things."

Here are the trends that I'm already seeing:

  1. Key business correspondence handled via snail mail. To avoid oversight, some accountants have already stopped using email when working with their clients. I personally use hardcopy for legal or insurance issues.
  2. Demand for computer-less consumer goods. When I see there's a computer in an appliance, I figure it's going to break quickly. For example, my non-computerized Honda has far fewer problems than my computerized Honda.
  3. More people using cash. Credit cards and bank accounts became popular because carrying and holding cash was unsafe. As it is now, your money is arguably safer from thieves when in cash than available electronically.
  4. Intense resistance to computerized guns. While the NRA paranoia about "smart guns" may seem, well, paranoid, any gun that's smart enough to recognize its owner can also be shut down remotely. Or just go "blue screen"and stop working.
  5. Analog objects as status symbols. Even today, few if any luxury goods are computerized. What's more impressive: an Apple Watch or a Rolex? Heck, my Swiss Army watch is one of my prize possessions.
  6. Real experiences valued massively over online ones. Yes, with a tablet or smartphone you can interact with your child at home whilst you're on the road. Well, whoop-de-do. Experiences are only real if you’re there experiencing them.
  7. Greater tendency to unplug. After a while, being constantly connected become tiresome rather than convenient. There's an undeniable pleasure to turning off your phone and just being in the moment.

Despite all the hype, the "Internet of Things" will inevitably create a spied-upon, insecure, fragile, overly-interdependent world that intelligent people will avoid when possible. Many are already doing so.

Published on: Jul 21, 2015
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