Things get smarter.

This article is about one possible vision for Internet of Things.

For the topic of “Internet of things” I asked myself, whereas will it lead. Nowadays things like smartphones, tablets, MP3- Players, GPS, Internet (of things) are a basic need of many peoples live. If we cannot imagine a life without smartphones, tablets, GPS, Internet (of things), how will this world look like? How will the relationship look like between human and object and between object and human?

When I think about Internet of things I have this image in my head from the movie Avatar with the tree Vitraya Ramunong which is connected with Eywa (nervous system) and Eywa is connected with everything. Through Internet of things lifeless objects gets a soul. These objects are connected with each other and form a system. Mark Leckeys describes, that internet of things, in which computers are replaced by smart objects, wearables like smart watches, smart glasses or electronic equipped textiles has changed our view on real objects. Since the era of enlightenment it was valid that objects has their own story, but not a soul. Nowadays we are not surprised that objects suddenly can think by it and communicate with each other.

Mark Leckeys says that our view on real objects has changed. So what is the reality of these lifeless objects? These objects are a part of our system. We own things and have the control on them. These days’ things are not just a part of our system but also a part of us like wearables. What will happen if all lifeless objects will be smart, could think by it and can make decisions?How will this affect our view to these things?

How will the relationship look like between human and object and between object and human? If all things which you own would be smart and could thing by it, how would you treat these things? Would you treat them like humans?

A possible relationship between a smart car and its driver.

Imagine you own a smart car, which can talk with you. It greets you when you get in your car, it knows how you feel and which music you want to hear. Will you treat this car like a normal car, which transports you from one place to another or maybe like a friend? More interesting is the view on how will be the relationship between these things and humans.

How will the car see you as a diver, would it see you as a user? If it would be driven by many people would it see them as user one, user two, user three? Would it maybe make decisions which you would not take or maybe which you will not accept? If the driver of this smart car would not be nice to this car how would this car react?

If every lifeless objects would be smart and would be connected with each other, how would we life in this world? The use of smart things will affect our personal life too. But are we ready to share our personal life with everyone and to waive our privacy? Are we sure that smart things who collect data, for example todays smart TV’s or Google use the data only to provide us the best service?

Do we still have the control of our personal information? Will we be preserving by doing something because one object could say it to another one.

How many things will get smart in future?

The UK Government report says that in 2020 it could be 20 billion up to 100 billion connected devices. The World Economic Forum refers that more than 5 million people will be connected with much less 50 billion things.¹The development of technology and with it internet (of things) rises very fast. So if we would live in a world with only smart objects, are the objects still a part of our System or are we a part of a big smart object system.

In my opinion the technical progress is good. But as designers or developers we have to take care in which way we are developing Internet of things and what will be the consequences of it in the future. I also think that we should not connect each and everything to the network, just because we want to make an Internet of thing. The (internet of) things should fulfil an important purpose and it should not have unnecessary functions.

Further reading