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The Internet Of Things

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by Glassfan, Jul 18, 2016.

  1. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

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    Is it time to have a serious discussion about the IOT? "The network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data."(wiki)

    It's been mentioned on these forums from time to time, but I don't see a specific thread.

    Supporters wax poetic on how it will improve life, save energy and maximize technological efficiencies. Or maybe not.

    I'd like to start out with this amusing article (for anyone remaining on the S&T forum:mischief:):

    Every Way the Internet of Things Could Murder You: A Definitive Guide

    "When hyper-intelligent androids are colluding with hacker warlords to turn our generation into a slave class, we'll remember that the robot apocalypse started small. Companies started stuffing the IoT into pants, treat dispensers, tampons and other things in which it has no business being, and we were left with a web of crappy, useless connected devices — also known as the Internet of S#@t.

    "1. Your facial recognition-driven pillbox doles out a deadly dosage.

    2. Someone remotely turns off your pacemaker.

    3. Your Nest thermostat turns itself off in the dead of winter.

    6. Your car hums itself on and kicks into Ludicrous Mode. It drives itself into your living room, where you were watching TV.

    17. Your Bluetooth-enabled pants tell you when your fly is down. It was down all day. You forgot to turn your Bluetooth on. You die of embarrassment.

    19. Your smart TV keeps F#%@ing rebooting with the latest software upgrade. You just wanted to watch the Game of Thrones finale. You die of boredom."
     
  2. IglooDude

    IglooDude Enforcing Rule 34 Retired Moderator

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    My day job is spent building and supporting the (cellular) infrastructure supporting IoT. So I'm happy to discuss it, but... what's to discuss? 3 and 19 have already happened in the wild, as I understand it.
     
  3. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

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    How about, "Technology Changes Culture". The IOT will cause vast changes in everything we do and what we do and why we do it. Don't you find that intriguing?

    Won't the saturation of our infrastructure with IOT devices, combined with the advances in quantum computers have some dynamic and unpredictable synergy?

    You know, the Intelligence Community has a big problem. They don't have enough people to actually monitor all the intel (and who they do have are often unreliable {Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, etc}), so they rely on software to monitor things. Occasionally hospitals are blown up.

    On Wall Street, the big investment firms use computers to carefully monitor market trends - leading to several sell-cascade crashes, wiping out billions of dollars.

    Won't we experience similar crashes, cascades and enormous dynamic screwups with the IOT? The lack of cybersecurity in these devices certainly screams out for hackers to reap mayhem.

    What do you think?
     
  4. Lohrenswald

    Lohrenswald nIGHTMARE

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    It seems to me that all IOT things are completely useless and an utter hassle to use, not to mention a waste of time, money and resources
     
  5. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

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    And yet, IT companies are spending $billions to get into the IOT market. I suspect that like Internet access, it will soon become an issue of the "Have vs the Have-Nots".
     
  6. innonimatu

    innonimatu Warlord

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    I suspect it will be as huge a marketing flop as "3D TV". Worse than useless technology, people won't be spending money in it for long.
     
  7. uppi

    uppi Chieftain

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    No.

    I am not so sure. The amount of computing power you can get for 5$ right now is amazing. So the necessary investment for the hardware could be affordable for a large fraction of the population.

    But the problem is that for the hardware to be useful, you would need to configure or even program the devices to do exactly what you want. If you are able to do this, you are likely to be a "Have", anyway, and if you are not, you need to be a "Have" to afford someone to do this for you.

    And then there is the problem of power, for which I do not see a satisfying solution yet: You do not want to run wires to everything (which would again be costly), but it is inconvenient to power a wireless device: You do not want to run around and change the batteries for 100 devices.
     
  8. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Problem with IoT is that the hardware manufacturers consistently put out trash with miserable security (which should be the number one priority) that never gets updates.

    Only IoT devices that are worth purchasing from software companies who are either running a sustainable business model, or possibly selling as loss leaders from their actual business.
     
  9. IglooDude

    IglooDude Enforcing Rule 34 Retired Moderator

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    I guess the first problem is actually defining "Internet of Things". Because I'm on the cellular/mobile side of it, I naturally think of those uses: handheld credit card processors, ATM machines, parking meters, vending machines, and getting away from money transactions, there's also vehicle/people/container tracking, home health/medical monitoring, remote infrastructure monitoring such as pipeline, traffic, metering, and substation sensors, and other stuff that I've forgotten at the moment. But everyone typically thinks of retail consumer "smart home" stuff like internet-connected refrigerators, light switches, and thermostats.

    I agree with Zelig, the security on the devices is typically an afterthought where it is thought of at all, and while connectivity companies like mine can substantially mitigate that weakness "upstream", there's little help available for the wifi-connected smart-home stuff because consumers are no more security-minded than the device manufacturers.
     
  10. Omega124

    Omega124 Challenging Fate

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  11. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

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    Largely agree, as does this writer;

    The Internet of Things has a dirty little secret: it's not really yours



    "That’s a reality that will unfold one day with internet-connected versions of everything. You’ve heard the horror stories about Samsung Smart TVs slowing down to uselessness with every update, or suddenly getting ads all across the menus before obsolescence, but what happens when it’s actually part of your house?

    "Well, for one, it means things are less reliable. More than once I’ve come home to an icy house because the internet had gone down, then spent hours trying to fix it only to have the thermostat jammed on 86 degrees until tech support reset my account.

    "Say Google someday decides that Nest’s drama is a little bit too much for the company to deal with and it offloads it to a company without such deep pockets. That company’s going to look for ways to either reduce costs or extract more money from you — and with smart devices there are plenty of ways to do that.

    "Firstly, that company could cut support for older devices — turn off the servers that keep those old thermostats running, or simply change the endpoint it connects to so it doesn’t function anymore. Alternatively, the new owner could try to monetize you further by selling what your thermostat knows about you to an advertiser.

    "You probably think that data is meaningless, but it’s enough to make an advertising network salivate: knowing how warm or cold your house is and how often you’re home is enough information to change the ad-personalization game and tailor some incredibly specific advertising on Facebook.

    These scenarios aren’t some far-fetched fantasy, it already happened when Nest acquired a home automation company called Revolv, then decided to quietly leave its customers out in the cold when it couldn’t be bothered servicing its devices anymore.
    "
     
  12. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    Reminds of how in Dreamfall - The Longest Journey nearly every mundane device was connected to 'the Wire' (a 23st century version of the WWW).

    IOT probably more than anything displays the failure of consumer society. However, I doubt corporations will let it fail: Increased convenience may be its selling point, though it also give powers that be social control. I suspect governments all over the world will prop it up, should it fail commercially, which is unlikely, given that it can be slipped in nearly every electronic device which actually doesn't need it.

    To sum, IOT is when consumer electronics incorporates lessons from penology to suppress those foolish "consumers" who don't do anything but "consume".
     
  13. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

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    Yes, consider China; the IOT may indeed be used as social control by some governments.

    And, it may just try to kill our pets...
     
  14. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    It's wishful thinking to say this will stay limited to typical poster children of authoritarianism such as China. Smart electricity meters in the Netherlands are already billed as "Green innovation", despite the huge amount of potential for abuse; they measure electricity usage. Similar ongoings in other European countries.
     
  15. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

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    I agree. I was just looking at 'worst possible scenario'. But you're quite right, government and corporate monitoring, infoharvest and control might likely occur anywhere. Not to mention cyberterrorism and just plain net failures.
     
  16. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    I've basically blacklisted any hardware or software by Chinese or Chinese-owned companies.
     

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