Will M2M Impact Every Aspect of Our Lives?

The more involved I become in M2M, the more I am convinced that no aspect of our lives will remain untouched by the Internet of Things (as M2M is also known). It all started from my first learning about IPv6 at a World Future Society DC Chapter event, and getting involved in that community in 2006. Theorizing with tech wonks about the connected home, office, car, everything was completely enjoyable. Then I watched (continue to observer) and spoke with industry professionals ensconced in 150 year old technology – think utilities – come to terms with the advent of smart grid and watching it transmute their industry into elements not thought possible in the past (i.e., from the now increasingly ubiquitous EV to energy generated by cars as they drive over pavement).

What might M2M not touch? I’m trying to think of the most human of things to do – giving birth, breathing, smiling, thinking. But even these will more likely than not – unless one completely and literally unplugs – be touched by M2M technology in the future, if it has not already happened.

So is this a good thing? Or should we be concerned?

I have a love-hate relationship with this technology paradigm that crosses all sectors. I love several scenarios that the Internet of Things enables: the feeling of connectedness; the communication that is facilitate among people; the ease that can be brought to living; the crucial sharing of data during emergency situations; the ability for people to come together and problem solve together; the powerful personal and business intelligence that can be gathered.

On the other hand there is a perpetual invasion of one’s life and business. It is very difficult to delete data that is already embedded in the cloud – it continues to live on, most likely, somewhere. Privacy is gone – and it is not only the government that has invaded it. We have given it away ourselves to retailers and marketers all for the sake of a few dollars discount. Security is always threatened with cyber crime and attacks offering big pay rewards or just fun.

The piranha has been let out of its cage and it is gobbling everything in its wake. I sincerely believe there is no turning back.

So what is the best way to proceed? With eyes wide open. With questions always asked. With no presumptions of good intentions (and those of you who know me know how not in typically positive character those words are). With a clear understanding, and awareness as to the implications of what we are creating. And with as much strategy and foresight. Because the intended, and most importantly, the unintended consequences can be both astonishingly magnificent and absolutely devastating to our world, our earth and the people who live on it.

by LIMOR SCHAFMAN

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