The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things

Bruce Sterling is an author, journalist, critic and a contributing editor of Wired magazine. Best known for his ten science fiction novels, he also writes short stories, book reviews, design criticism, opinion columns and introductions to books by authors ranging from Ernst Jünger to Jules Verne. His non-fiction works include The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier (1992), Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years (2003) and Shaping Things (2005).
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Твой холодильник не будет говорить с твоим телефоном. Через три секунды после того, как хлопнет дверца морозилки, он расскажет о мороженом, которое ты взял, производителю и его PR-службе. Интернет Вещей, увиденный как коалиция меж княжествами и рыцарскими орденами, как продукт новых иезуитов – антидот против красивых и вылизанных текстов про радости жизни в умном городе.
Читать вместе с Shaping Things и "Обратной стороной Интернета" Евгения Морозова.


Google and Facebook don’t have “users” or “customers”. Instead, they have participants under machine surveillance, whose activities are algorithmically combined within Big Data silos.
The Internet of Things is very much in the interests of certain groups who can already count themselves among the haves
The real problem with this scenario is that the reader thinks he’s the hero of the story.
So, let’s imagine that the reader has a smartphone in one hand, as most people in the Twenty-Teens most definitely tend to. In the other hand, the reader has some “thing”. Let’s say it’s the handle of his old-fashioned domestic vacuum cleaner, which is a relic of yesterday’s standard consumer economy.
As he cheerfully vacuums his home carpet while also checking his Facebook prompts, because the chore of vacuuming is really boring, the reader naturally thinks: “Why are these two objects in my two hands living in such separate worlds? In my left hand I have my wonderfully advanced phone with Facebook – that’s the “internet”. But in my right hand I have this noisy, old-fashioned, ineffective, analogue “thing”! For my own convenience as a customer and consumer, why can’t the “internet” and this “thing” be combined?
This concept sounds pretty visionary, and it’s certainly enough to impress most people born during the Baby Boom, so this paradigm has been doing well in the popular press. If the reader thinks it over, he can easily refine the basic idea. “This vacuum should be equipped with wireless connectivity and sensors! Also, as its owner, I should have a mobile app or dashboard that can tell me many useful and healthy things about my vacuum – such as how much energy it is using, or how many toxins it found in my carpet. Also, the vacuum should run around in robot fashion, all by itself!”
In practice, the Internet of Things means an epic transformation: all-purpose electronic automation through digital surveillance by wireless broadband.

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