The Internet of shit

“In recent times, we’ve seen a slew of new devices pouring onto the market with no real specific purpose, as far as anyone can tell. At first, I was just making jokes about these things, but the situation is worse than I initially thought. I’m talking about devices like this bullshit $700 WiFi connected juicer, a smart egg-minder, a cat-tracking water fountain or this bizarre Bluetooth umbrella.”

- The Internet of shit

The Internet of things (IoT) has been in the news quite often and is supposed to be the next big industry. The primary objective of the industry to connect all the devices in our houses so that our phones and laptops aren’t the only smart gadgets we own. This will help them profile us better, understand how we live our lives more holistically and probably sell us more expensive stuff and better targeted ads.

The whole premise of having all our devices at home connected is to create better experiences. Just like Google Now suggests when to leave for meetings or flights and tells us the dishes to order at the restaurants we visit, all without asking, the potential is big. Or, so goes the thought of everyone building something in this space or investing in this space.

The semi-troll account on Medium called ‘The Internet of shit’ points out how meaningless the products available today are and how flimsy the purposes they serve are. But that’s not the right argument to make. Nearly every invention first started off as an experiment by a hobbyist that served no real purpose, until it evolved to do so later on. And I’m sure the products in the IoT space will also evolve to be useful in further iterations.

But only if given the time.

Which I’m afraid it won’t. To me, the products in the IoT space are being built for an alternate Universe as the one that will exist if the other big industry of today goes big. Virtual Reality.

If VR really lives up to it’s promise, and I have no reason to believe that it won’t, we are all headed for a world like in The Matrix where our interactions with the real world might be limited to a tube sticking into our head that keeps our body alive.

And the time it takes us to get to this might be comparable to the time that it takes for the products in the IoT space to be as useful and prevalent as smartphones are today. Which is thirty years, give or take. By which time there will be no use for it as virtual would be the new real. Who wants to stick chips in real things when all that we experience is likely virtual?

Do any of you work in either of these industries? What’s your take on it?

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Kumara S Raghavendra’s story.