I just read a detailed study conducted by Cisco, titled “The Internet of Everything”. While the title seems quite intriguing, the research is even more. It was fascinating, but somehow got me thinking on how it would all shape up.
If you haven’t read it yet, the IOE is about how the internet and connectivity will grow to the next stage and encapsulate every moment of our lives, our surroundings and everything in between. We started with fixed computing, went on to interconnectivity between computers (the advent of the Internet), then got computing on mobile devices, which enabled us to “carry” our computing with us.
This allowed greater interaction between both devices and people (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and is at a stage now when wearable computing is on the horizon (Google Glass, Apple iWatch). So whats next?
Well, more computing! We are seemingly looking at a future when people, things, data and processes are combined into a seemless loop, where data is not just generated and shared, but processed and evaluated, all in real-time. The article mentions a not-so-distant future where a patient may swallow and pill and transmit real-time information via an internet sensor (within the pill) to his doctor located thousands of miles away. Every person becomes a transmitter and a receiver of information.
Too hard to swallow?
Its amazing really. The article states that the 21st century will represent a progress of 20,000 years. Just think about it. We are already speeding towards this. Five years back, cameras on phones were an add-on. Now we click, upload and voila. Everyone has just seen what you saw. Devices are becoming smaller and more powerful. Data has moved to the cloud. But where are we headed?
There can be two lines of argument here. I myself can be on both sides of the argument. A dichotomy, if you may. One side of my head says that its wonderful to see such progress, things become simpler, faster and easier. We can do so much more as a collective race than we can individually. Collating efforts from so many sources, real-time processing and implications can greatly help in our move to solve our basic problems of climate change, malnutrition and disease. Look at this infographic for example, that demonstrates how IOE can impact even the smallest of things like a drop of water.
The other side of my head laments. Yes, you heard me correctly. Laments. Our world is much more connected than it was ten years back, yet hunger remains. Poverty remains. Development is more lopsided than ever. Privacy isn’t what it used to be. With IOE, this can only worsen. We will be all connected, every moment of our lives recorded. Interconnectivity will increase, but personal connections diminish. Somehow I feel that the human is being taken out of the equation, emotion is being relegated to data. Can this be good? Or bad?
Only time will tell.
For now, I hope for progress. But I fear the repercussions as well.