Phil Windley, former CTO of Utah and now CTO of a startup called Kynetx, has an inspiring, brief piece on how technologists can help build a technological world where technology helps us live better lives over which we have more control, and how a failure to do something to build this world will give us a place where we are continuously spied upon and manipulated.
We probably don’t really have a choice about whether a $0.03 wireless sensor platform will exist. Technology marches on.
But we do have a choice about how it will be employed. If we follow the path we’re on now, all those devices will be controlled by some company somewhere that is providing the service behind them. All that data that all those devices are gathering about you will be streamed back to a walled garden via an encrypted channel to end up as fodder for some big data analytics platform that will be used by someone to sell you more stuff. You will be spied on by everything around you with no rational way to understand where all that data is going and how it’s being used. We’ll create government regulations that will do little to rationalize your world or help you understand it because they will only succeed in further Balkanizing it.
There is another path: in this alternate world all the devices that are related to you will push their data into a place that you control. This will seem rational and natural because the model will follow the structure of the world you’re already used to with clear delineations between public and private spaces and easy-to-understand controls over how data is used and shared. I say “natural” in a literal way. This is the way the physical world works and we’re all used to it. In this alternate world you are in control.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.