IBM Wants to Connect All of Our Devices – Can You Say Skynet?
This week at a conference in Ludwigsburg, Germany, IBM announced their ambitious vision of an even more interconnected world. Basically speaking, they announced plans to create an open-source means by which all of our devices can "talk" to each other - from gaming systems to cars, heart rate monitors to shoes. IBM says having all of the objects in our lives serving as "smart objects" could make our lives better, offering a scenario like this:
Public transit systems could enable the streets themselves to publish their own traffic status. Traffic signals could become intercommunicative, enabling live and automated rerouting of traffic, including signals that are sent to cars and their drivers. Water, gas, and electric lines can report their own status the same way. And through inter-Web protocols, you could check the status of your local water main on Facebook.
To some, this may sound fantastic. It could make our lives significantly easier and less hectic being able to find a "smarter" route to work, or a more efficient way to get our groceries, for example. On the same token, I don't know if I need my shoes telling my friends on Facebook how far I've walked today - but that's just me.
Where this gets scary is the potential for things to go wrong. Anyone who has seen any of the Terminator movies is familiar with "Skynet," which was a network of interconnected devices, mainly military weapons, that turned on humanity. I know this is a little far-fetched, but think about the very real-world problems we face with technology today. Hackers, computer viruses, and other malicious things could wreak absolute havoc on the average person's life.
One has to wonder, is shaving a few minutes off your trip to work worth it? Or is this just overreaction to IBM's dream of a "smarter planet"? What do you think?