Friday, April 13, 2018

Could 'The Internet of Things' Be The Greatest Threat To Human Freedom Ever?

from 'A Simple Explanation Of The Internet Of Things' by in Forbes

The Internet of Things has become an umbrella term for what appliance, transportation and construction businesses hope will be the future for what they sell - an Internet-connected network of sensors and intercommunicating devices in our homes, our offices, our cars and public spaces that, while they may feed data to us, do so more widely to databases and algorithms that will monitor and increasingly manage our days.

The driverless car constantly connected to the Cloud; fridge, washing, heating and other household devices that will soon sense and inform via networks; the audio-video technology, fixed and mobile, that is already connected via the Web to browsers, Netflix, Internet radio providers and others who monitor our ongoing activity and preferences; and the third party monitoring of home security systems that soon will extend inside our doors and windows to cover full household operations, these are just a few of the ways that our daily lives will service what Jennifer Cobbe of the New York Review of Books NYR Daily calls 'surveillance capitalism'.

A few years back a US robotics engineer, Daniel H. Wilson, authored the novel 'Robopocalypse' in which, in the not-too-distant future at a moment no-one will notice, the dazzling technology that will run our world will unite and turn against us through the agency of a powerful artificial intelligence (AI) who uses the interconnectedness of all things to attempt to dominate and exterminate humans. The book is a useful catalogue of how artifacts connected to the Cloud can be used to take over society.  

While the nature and capabilities of future AI is speculative, what we may safely guess is that humans in competing national intelligence agencies are already working on how to use the Internet of Things to cripple their antagonists. The current huge Chinese commercial data thievery and Russian online offshore disinformation campaigns are only a glimpse of what could be to in store for us if we don't strongly resist now rampant surveillance capitalism through our viewing and buying decisions, and, via both the ballot box and the courts, the already widespread but often illegal online personal and social intelligence gathering  of government security agencies like the US CIA.  

In 2014 David Ignatius, a distinguished Washington Post columnist and long-time student of the CIA, published 'The Director', a novel focusing in detail on the illegalities that have long characterized that agency's global endeavours and which had recently been given some air by both Wikileaks and an internal whistle blower. Four years later we can assume nothing has really changed other than the tools and options have got better, and will soon, thanks to the Internet of Things, be much more so.

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