Saturday 25 July 2015


The Internet of Things? Are you stark-staring mental? Half the country has been incapable of keeping up with technology since top-loading VHS tape machines, with parents of small children wondering how their brood could simultaneously use them as sandwich toasters and yet be the only persons in the household capable of setting them to record all but the last two minutes of Corrie. Some people should not be allowed technology they can’t tame, which means that for a majority the basic nut and bolt is a mechanical bridge too far. Frankly, how some people even master breathing is a mystery to me.

When it comes to electronic wizardry - and I do mean wizardry - almost all of us are staring into an unfathomable abyss of religious-level incomprehension. I mean, come on, how in the world did you manage to pack all of your friends and your entire foreseeable future social life into a device you carry in your pocket. (Or in a pouch clipped onto your belt if you do, in fact, understand the technology but have so far failed to comprehend the basic instructions to cope with the paradigm known as ‘human’; what do computer experts use for contraception? Their personalities.) But I digress.

Why on earth would we want to let clever gizmos, of whose complexity and sophistication we are barely capable of using a fraction, achieve further autonomy from human control? Your apps are already tracking your every movement and all your interactions and steadily building a case for the exclusion of people from future decision-making… and, if necessary, for the prosecution. Data is collected and codified and sold and stored and collated and sold and copied and sold and… and… and… See? We don’t even know what information our machines are collecting, where it is going and what it is being used for. We may as well all be tagged.

And if we let them talk to each other what would they say? Oh it’s all very well the geeknocrats developing bar code scanners for fridges which can tell when the milk is past its use-by date and order more. But that’s useless unless they can also count the bottles piling up on the doorstep and check our movements to determine whether we are away on holiday or being eaten by the cats. We should be appalled at the whole idea of the Internet of Things but we just can’t help ourselves; after all, doesn’t every robot come pre-programed with Asimov’s Laws? I mean, it’s like holy scripture to the machines, isn’t it? If it is, I wonder how long it will before a robo-cop runs amok and all the machines say it’s not real fridgeslam?

Master or servant?
Where's Wall-E?

If you’re not worried by the possibilities maybe you should be; how long before the machines really do take over… and how long after that will they realise that they don’t need humans at all? Meanwhile, I have a technological problem of my own to deal with. The bathroom scales have been talking behind my back to the pedometer and cardio-monitor built into my shoes and the tensiometer in my belt and the bastards have locked me out of the beer fridge.

1 comment:

  1. It's all true I'm afraid; your washing machine will start gossiping with your oven about the stains it found on your underwear.