Always-On/Off/On?

As we move to  a pervasive, constantly connected state – and isn’t mobile just another word for everywhere – what does this mean for us as a whole? We’re already struggling for a work-life balance – and stresses are showing at the margins already. People are overwhelmed, unable to keep up and give up. These people are the new impoverished. Impoverished in the sense that they can’t control, manage and then articulate themselves in an information-rich environment. Will this mean a backlash? What will people do?

One thing might be that people create areas of their lives that are unavailable to networks – in essence a “safe room” or along the lines of a sensory deprivation tank. I can see this being something that futuristic home builders might already be working on; a bedroom where no wireless or cellphone network can access. Where else would you want this? Anywhere your privacy might be important. We’ve seen what happens when two people in a relationship at distance will do to show their love (lust), and then later embarrass the other in a revenge plot. Emotions can get in the way. I see the Japanese inventing private hotels, much like the love hotels they have now to service young couples who have no privacy at home.

As we see the Internet of things evolve, we’ll need these sorts of strategies to allow maybe our fridge, stove and phone to talk, but not our fridge and furnace. And this opens hackers to having a real effect on human lives – if we trust devices to tell us we’re out of milk – does that mean a hacker could get us to buy two dozen bags of milk because they spoof a message from the fridge? Brings a whole new meaning to “your fridge is running… you better go catch it”.

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