The Internet of Things? Yes, but ONLY if it is OPEN and ORGANIC
The Internet of Things as advertised today has huge security issues. But they are likely the smallest of its problems.
The second half of this article makes a great summary of the many ways in which the Internet of Things can be, or already is, a glorious mess from the privacy, control and security standpoints. Its conclusion, however, is woefully incomplete:
“The advantages of the IoT by far outweigh the threats, but we will have to be vigilant to determine whether our systems are secure or have been compromised.”
Making “the advantages of the IoT REALLY far outweigh the threats” requires much more than vigilance.
To begin with, the hard limits on “decoupling”, and the possibility of a not-so-far-away de-facto rationing of raw materials may make all that Internet of tens of billions of Things simply impossible to manufacture, unless real innovation happens.
But never mind global warming, or material shortages. I’m serious. There is no need to bring them to the picture. The reality is that, regardless of climate issues, and even if the “rationing” above does not happen, it is REALLY, REALLY STUPID to make (or to invest in companies that make):
- dresses that pollute
- [“products”] that have little or no value, but may anyway end up inside us
- stuff that is not repairable, by design (Apple and other smartphone makers, you are among the worst here)
- devices so “smart” that 99% of them become dumb, wasting your money, the moment you switch service supplier
- stuff that will become non-recyclable paperweights as soon as its manufacturer changes strategy, or goes out of business
Make the IoT organic AND open, already
The ONLY way to make the Internet of Things compatible with physical limits, but above all: more useful and profitable than damaging is to regulate it to be, in this order:
- as little as possible
- as modular and reusable as possible by design, not afterthought
- as biodegradable and recyclable as possible (see here for what may be possible), just like “organic” food
- really interoperable, thanks to really open, non-proprietary royalty-free protocols and standards. Which, by the way, will also make it much more secure.
Starting from now, no home or city that, instead of following those guidelines, keeps falling in the traps above, should ever be defined “smart”. Even if by “smart” you still, merely mean money-wise smart.
(image source: public domain, via Pixnio)
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