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How AI and IoT are Transforming the World

Domina-Matrix in NYC

Picture a world where your home or workspace anticipates your optimal desires in the moment. Thirsty? Your robot VA robot brings you something to drink. Stressed out? The music changes to a relaxing track as the overhead lights dim.

In this dream, all chores are automated, groceries and customized meals show up daily, your home cleans itself, and your car drives itself, with or without you.

It sounds like a scene from a Disney remake of the (first and best) Matrix movie, right?

Well, it’s not. This is a slice of life from an Internet of Things (IoT) future. Read on to learn more about how we got here and where our things will take us.

What Is IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the collection of things that have sensors to send information to the cloud.

That FitBit you got for Christmas tracking all those missed workouts? 😏 IoT.

Alexa eavesdropping on your convo with your mom over dinner while you text your best friend? 🙉 IoT.

Your car sending an SOS signal to your insurance company after a fender bender? 🚑. IoT.

Of course, IoT isn’t just about YOU.

Or is it? 🕺 💃🏿 As companies realize how critical personalization is to retention, aka catch and keep customers, you can expect a deluge of attempts to turn every object in your physical space into a little spy 🕵🏽 for your favorite brand.

Yet, actually, Neo 🐇, the IoT is not all about you. IoT goes beyond just smart devices for individuals and B2C. The B2B and B2G (for Government) opportunities to leverage IoT connected “things” for people, homes, businesses, and cities are capital G (for Ginormous).

Back to the Future

You may be wondering, what is AI, anyway? Broadly speaking, artificial intelligence is the process of machines simulating human intelligence.

If you don’t remember life before AOL, it might surprise you to learn that AI has been around since the 1950s.

In 1953, a computer scientist for IBM, Arthur Samuels, landed on a new insight. He suggested that instead of teaching computers how to do every little thing, we should teach them how to learn for themselves.

Machine learning (ML) says machines should offer solutions and gather feedback, adapt to the feedback, and then make adjustments. Learn by doing. Does that sound familiar? It should because that’s how humans learn.

The idea was to teach machines how to think and learn like people. This sparked many sci-fi movies and ongoing R&D 🤖 in the pre-internet tech and scientific community.

Rise of the Internet

Enter the Internet era and the growth of smart device technology. It doesn’t take an imagination like Ray Bradbury’s to see that the more “things” that are sending data to the cloud, the bigger Big Data is going to get. To infinity and beyond.

In 2021, IoT Analytics expects the global number of connected IoT devices to grow 9%, to 12.3 billion active endpoints. By 2025, there will likely be more than 27 billion IoT connections.

Data is like oil, to borrow an analogy making the rounds on the interwebs. If it just sits there on a server, it’s like unrefined crude oil. 🛢️ It’s not fuel until it’s processed.

That’s where AI and Machine Learning come in. They provide the technology that refines data from the IoT so we can do stuff with it.

The amount of IoT data coming is like Spindletop for the AI-enabled future.

Now that you know how the IoT and AI interact, what does that mean for the future? The short answer is, the IoT and related digital technologies will affect, well, everything. Let’s look at a few ideas.

Smart Things for You 😎

Smart “things” to wear on your body are big business. The global wearable technology market size is estimated to be $47.89 B in 2021.

Many of these are already on the market. We can expect to see more introduced every year.

  • Smart jewelry integrated with smartphone apps
  • Sensors on the skin to track biological data
  • Bracelets and watches ⌚ that monitor vital signs, workouts, even sleep patterns
  • Smart clothing 👔 to monitor biometric data and interact with apps on your phone
  • Glasses 👓 fitted with cameras for augmented reality using information about location and objects in your field of vision
  • AR and VR headsets create hybrid and 100% digitized environments.
  • AI hearing aids that offer audio streaming and also track fitness and biometric data
  • Synthetic biology, including 3D bio-printer that uses bio-ink, organic living material, to print new tissues and eventually body parts
  • Self-driving cars
  • Smart workout equipment

Many of these smart wearables will also collaborate with digital technologies for your smart home.

Smart Things for Your House 🏠

The global smart home market size is expected to grow to $135.3 B by 2025.

Smart homes 🏠 track our actions to anticipate our needs. In just a few years, we’ll go beyond shouting, “Hey, Alexa,” across the room to living in homes built from the ground up with smart technology.

  • Smart lighting and audio-visual systems
  • Sensors and cameras in refrigerators to re-order when you are low on milk
  • Medicine cabinets that track prescriptions and send reminders to take medicines
  • Toilets to test, well, you know what, for health issues and nutritional information
  • Mirrors that analyze and perform scans for skin health
  • HVAC and plumbing sensors to flag maintenance issues before they get worse
  • Home security gadgets will have 22.6% of the smart-home market share by 2023

Last but not least, robotics is ushering in a whole new category of smart things to help around the house. Including robotic pets that clean up after you for a change.

Smart Things in Your Town 🏙️

The U.S. smart cities market is estimated at $233.9 Billion in 2021. Smart technology impacts cities in everything from smart traffic lights to fighting crime.

  • Smart buildings 🏢 connected to a smart energy grid
  • Real-time crime data and facial recognition
  • Telemedicine to treat patients virtually
  • Sensors in waste receptacles
  • Dynamic electricity pricing
  • Sensors to detect leaks in water and gas mains
  • Pay-as-you-throw waste receptacles to encourage less trash
  • Air and water quality sensors
  • Smart traffic lights, parking spaces, crosswalks, and street lights

Further down the line, social robots will support teachers, social workers, and caregivers.

HAL and the Smiths — The Risks of AI 👻

In science fiction movies, the robot almost always shows its dark side sooner or later. Cautionary tales about dependency on machines contain a kernel of truth. Outages happen. Hacks happen. Bad governments happen. 😱

For every fantastic benefit, there is another side of the coin. Privacy concerns, robotic weapons, job loss, data breaches, energy consumption by massive networks are all unresolved challenges.

Strong cybersecurity and building public trust will be essential. It takes a village to build the IoT for the health and safety of humans. If you are reading this, thank you! I hope it gives you an overview of the changing landscape so you can decide where you can add value in ushering in the best version of future society for everyone.



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