The assumption here is that only the maker can maintain or service a smart device.
But consider cars. Depending on my skills, I can do most of the routine maintenance myself. I can change the oil, rotate the tires, and top off most of the fluids.
…or architecture. I can rewire a building, paint a room, and change out hardware. As a pretty normal, regular person with normal, regular skills.
Obviously, the main difference is that IoT devices are “smart” (i.e. complex) and cars/buildings are “dumb” (i.e. simple). We don’t expect normal people to have the tools or ability to own their smart devices. But I don’t think it’s as binary as that. Technology is (or should be) a sliding scale, where the more complicated something becomes, the fewer people are capable of maintaining it.
To get to a world where you can buy a smart device and not depend on the expertise (or existence!) of a company to keep it from becoming a paperweight, a few things must happen.
- Decentralized services (e.g. Bitcoin) must become the norm, not the exception.
- Everyone must learn the basics of how technology works and how to manipulate it, through learning how to code or via future tools which let people alter software through more natural interfaces (e.g. voice).
- The longer something is expected to last, the more basic its tech must be. Consider the Clock of the Long Now. It is designed to be maintainable with bronze-age technology because of the relative instability of modern technologies.