What are the pros and cons of the Internet of Things?

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends,

After watching John Lennox’s talk on “Should We Fear Artificial Intelligence?” last night, I noticed with particular interest this article in the New York Times:

As Farhad Manjoo puts it,

In recent years, the tech industry’s largest powers set their sights on a new target for digital conquest. They promised wild conveniences and unimaginable benefits to our health and happiness. There’s just one catch, which often goes unstated: If their novelties take off without any intervention or supervision from the government, we could be inviting a nightmarish set of security and privacy vulnerabilities into the world. And guess what. No one is really doing much to stop it.

The industry’s new goal? Not a computer on every desk nor a connection between every person, but something grander: a computer inside everything, connecting everyone.

You might dismiss many of these innovations as pretty goofy and doomed to failure. But everything big in tech starts out looking silly, and statistics show the internet of things is growing quickly. It is wiser, then, to imagine the worst — that the digitization of just about everything is not just possible but likely, and that now is the time to be freaking out about the dangers.

In a roboticized world, hacks would not just affect your data but could endanger your property, your life and even national security.

This system illustrates Mr. Schneier’s larger argument, which is that the cost of adding computers to objects will get so small that it will make sense for manufacturers to connect every type of device to the internet.

Connecting everything could bring vast benefits to society. But the menace could be just as vast. Why not go slowly into the uncertain future?

The argument seems quite strong:

  1. Tech giants have successfully achieved other audacious goals (e.g., there are now 2.2+ billion monthly users of Facebook).
  2. Connecting everything to the Internet with sensors offers significant convenience at an increasingly low price (“Hey Alexa, turn on the fan”). As physical devices become digitally enabled, this enables new worlds of functionality to be created and developed.
  3. Therefore, in a few years, or perhaps in 5-7 years, hundreds of millions or billions of devices will be connected to the Internet of Things.
  4. If this is the inevitable future, then what are the privacy and security risks?

As a consumer, are you excited about the internet of things? What downsides can you see?

How do you think living in a world where physical things are connected to the internet will change what it means to follow Jesus?

(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #2

I always find it interesting that we, as members of the human race, always love to toy with our imaginations and make them a reality (like AI) at seemly little regard of the potential downfalls of our creations. Why this is do interesting is that when it comes to the problem of suffering, we like to point our fingers at God for not taking away our problems and pains. We blame Him for not creating a world without suffering (where we’d like to imagine we would be able to thrive), yet we are willing to make the gamble ourselves to create the internet of things, which has some drastic pitfalls that really should scare us.
Funny thing is, one could say God faced a similar dilemma when creating the human race. He was willing to create us with free will so that we could genuinely love Him. Why does God get blamed and even mocked for creating imperfect creations (with the greatest capacity of love), yet when we do the same (in principle) we get exalted? That is my question.