by Neva Bodin
Recently I received a magazine in the mail known as Website Compass. It is touted as “The World’s #1 Internet Magazine.” And it’s scary!
It says, in the future, my toaster will be able to communicate with my refrigerator, which will then tell its secrets to my smart phone. So far, I am not smart enough for a smart phone, and I’m not sure I want to invite one over if it’s going to share all my secrets! I bet it doesn’t stop by sharing with just the refrigerator!
The article, Smart Revolution, page 2, says “And that’s just the beginning. Some researchers predict that by 2020 there will be 50 billion connected objects—about seven times more than people on the planet.”
I’m beginning to believe we don’t need to worry about revolutions between humans, but revolutions between our appliances! Perhaps that’s fodder for a new sci-fi story. Only it won’t be sci-fi.
Connecting all things virtually is termed “the Internet of Things, (IoT).” People will be able to interact with objects “in helpful ways,” the article contends. My refrigerator will be able to phone me at work and tell me what to pick up on the way home. As if I don’t have enough interruptions!
Benefits touted for the IoT are no more passwords, messages telling me when air quality is poor, sewer information, (like when it’s going to back up maybe? I hope it leaves out the details), advance information about car crashes to emergency responders, pill bottles that will flash me (okay, light up) when I forget my pill, and buildings that will warn me to leave if an earthquake is happening. Will there be no peace?
And who’s going to pay for this technology? Not only will I have to support myself, but a bunch of clamoring inanimate objects who will no doubt have attitudes!
They even predict garbage cans and clothing will communicate problems. Actually, having the garbage can remind someone when it needs emptying sounds okay. But imagine shopping at Walmart, and the noise of multiple electronic voices screaming, “It’s too tight! Take me off! You’re busting my buttons!” breaks your concentration and competes with the instructions your refrigerator is giving you. I bet my tranquilizer pill bottle will be flashing, “Red Alert! Take one now!”
A subtitle in the article says, “Get Ready for Smart Everything.” Baby onesies will monitor my baby’s breathing, pulse, temperature and activity and send it to the doctor, distracting him or her too. My shirt will tell me my heart rate, my pants if I am moving; my jacket will light up, I don’t know why. Contacts will monitor blood sugar, glasses will film videos and send messages, (future romance novel—“her glasses took pictures of his biceps”), and homes will send their information to a cloud system. Some watches already monitor the wearer’s time in the sun and communicate with smart phones. Who needs a mother? Or a brain?
Photo of cavemen with no refrigerator in sight, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caveman