Sci-Fi to Reality: The Internet of Things

Samantha Smith

More stories from Samantha Smith

Spencer Baughman

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A proposed development to destroy the limits on the World Wide Web even further, the Internet of Things is a new system in which all objects are connected wirelessly and the data they produce is sent to medians like your Smartphone. It’s already in motion with such devices like the SmartBelly trash can, which alerts service workers when a garbage receptacle needs to be emptied. This is just one of the many innovations that has risen from this idea.

Content Editor Samantha Smith

While the Internet of Things may assist in convenience and time saving, it also violates ones privacy and the safety of this system cannot be guaranteed.

Since the invention of the Internet in the early 1970s, mankind has been secretly stalked through the World Wide Web. Many of the sites we use daily have been storing our data. Facebook knows what we like and who our friends are. Google and YouTube can tell what we’ve searched and provide recommendations on what to search next. Twitter sees what we hashtag.

We have grown used to this constant surveillance, many of us are not aware of it or just refusing to acknowledge it. However, will we still be so blissfully ignorant with everything around us, even in the privacy of our own homes, connected to the Internet?

This sounds great, even beneficial, but how appealing does the Internet of Things (IoT) sound when you find out that the sensors are also in your home, monitoring your everyday life, and even on your own body, tracking your every move. Yes, you may be able to turn off your oven with the WoMo smart outlet, preventing a house fire, and monitor your loved one’s daily activities with the BeClose wireless system, but imagine if this intimate information fell into the wrong hands, like that of a burglar hoping to make off with your valuables. He now knows when you leave for work and when your children go to school. In trying to keep your family safe, you have opened a window of opportunity for anyone who can hack your system to take advantage of you.

This violation of privacy is one of the major criticisms of the IoT. In addition to lack of security and the fact that it’s too complex to keep it working as efficiently as promised. You can’t have so many items connected on one network without experiencing some major setbacks and difficulties.

The Internet of Things is exactly what the name suggests. The Internet. Imagine the problems that accompany your home computer. Crashes. Downed WiFi. Hackers. Now, imagine those problems of a larger, universal scale. Everything IoT is applied to will be impacted by these difficulties. This may not be a problem today given that mankind is still used to the “old way” of doing most things manually. However, if IoT becomes a reality, those future generations that have become so dependent on the system will be stopped in their tracks. Industry could grind to a halt and damage the economy, even more than it already would have been with robotics taking over the job market.

Teenagers panic when their phones go dead. Imagine if the entire IoT grid goes dead.

Technology is a huge factor in that controls enough of our lives as it is, from online shopping to education over the computer. Humanity does not need yet another “high-tech” distraction that could eventually work its way against us.

Public Relations Spencer Baughman

Despite all of the hysteria and paranoia surrounding the Internet Of Things, when used correctly, it can have many advantages

Ever since “Star Trek: The Next Generation” people have been in a constant search for any way to integrate technology into our daily lives. From Geordi La Forge’s visor to tricorders, technology has spent most of its life desperately trying to replicate those devices for practical use.

Every iteration of the iPhone, inches closer and closer to the future hinted at in 1980s science fiction teledramas and who wouldn’t want that? Years ago, nobody would have imagined that we would be able to swipe our fingers across a screen and actually have it respond. Now, we would be hard pressed to find somebody without a touch screen cell phone on them and these pieces of glass and silicon are only the beginning.

From all digital heads up displays that replace fuel gages and standard speedometers, in the newest models of Mercedes Benz, to turning digital worlds into reality with Oculus Rift headsets, technology is slowly becoming integrated more and more into our lives, and it really is for the better. Cars are helping reduce the chances of cell-phone related crashes, by integrating operating systems in cars that give us the ability to answer calls, without ever having to pick up our physical cell phones. Even right now, I’m writing this story on Google Drive, a word processor with a cloud based storage system that replaces the need for a hard drive to be in any computer, and that out performs Microsoft’s Word, mainly because the service comes free with all Google accounts.

The Internet of Things has advanced so far, and has proved to be so useful, it is easy to see how people can worry about their personal security, in this transition to a more cloud based world.

With the attack on celebrities iCloud accounts, people have spiraled into a more severe state of paranoia. Of course, nothing is 100 percent secure. There will be cyber attacks, yet, these attacks on our digital lives beg us to ask the question: Should we, as a population, be putting our whole lives online? There is such thing as being too open about our experiences, and sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr just are aggregates to store regrets we all have put out for the world to see. Society should not be airing its dirty laundry on public sites like these, because these “Cloud” attacks target people who do.

If we all were more mindful about what we do make public on the Internet, I would not be sitting here, writing this argument. We will never be able to really delete what we put on the Internet, but if we just think about what we put out there, internet integration can be a fantastic tool. Used correctly, the Internet Of Things can bravely lead us into a place where no man has gone before.