I’m not exactly sure why; maybe it’s because of my carefully tracked reading habits? Then again, maybe it’s because of the specific types of credit cards that I have, a much more likely scenario. But either way, I have been receiving unsolicited, unpaid for copies of Wired magazine for the last several months.
For those of you who are not familiar with Wired, it’s a magazine dedicated to being just that, wired. Don’t confuse the new Wired with the old meaning of wired which was often used when referring to an over-energetic kid, like, “That kid is WIRED.” Of course, that version of wired has now evolved into “That kid has ADD or ADHD.” And no, it is also not the old reference to someone who is personally connected. “You need to meet Tom. He is totally WIRED.”
This WIRED is the computerized wired.
One of the articles that captured my interest this month had a lead story by Bill Wasik that was promoted like this: “In our houses, cars, and factories, we’re surrounded by tiny, intelligent devices that capture data about how we live and what we do. Now they are beginning to talk to one another. Soon we’ll be able to choreograph them to respond to our needs, solve our problems, even save our lives.”
In view of the fact that my Verizon cell phone records are being data scanned by the government, and my phone can tell anyone where I’m located every second; that my internet typing strokes are being monitored by secret cookies and program language that is hidden in every program; and that my Social Security number is with virtually every vendor in the entire world, it struck me as kind of funny that these intrusions into my privacy by Big Brothers of all kinds could actually be programmed to be helpful. If anything, I’m been regularly thinking that we should be a little paranoid that they might be programmed to subtly do the exact opposite.
With 7.5 billion people consuming Mother Earth at nearly the speed of light and with 7,000 to 10,000 people turning 65 on a daily basis in the United States, it just struck me as odd that life enhancing peepers, drones, bots and apps would become popular.
Here, however, is a sneak peek into what our connectivity might end up meaning to us. “Imagine a house with a nervous system, where the sprinklers take orders from the moisture sensors.” Here’s another quote from the article, “This is the language of the future; tiny, intelligent things all around us, coordinating their activities. Coffee pots that talk to alarm clocks. Thermostats that talk to motion sensors . . . we are seeing the dawn of an era when the most mundane items in our lives can talk wirelessly among themselves, performing tasks on command, giving us data we’ve never had before.” (I think the Japanese already have toilet seats that do all of this?)
The folks that do this SmartThings work are referring to this phenomenon as the Sensor Revolution, “a vast ensemble that can be choreographed.”
The article became more interesting to me when it began looking at the medical applications like GE’s fully monitored beds being tested at Mt Sinai Medical Center in New York City or “a home medical monitoring system that didn’t just feed back data from diabetic patients but adjusted the treatment regimen as the data demanded.”
I’ve attended lectures and workshops on nanotechnology, on DNA analytics, and on numerous other medically oriented predictive devices and future accomplishments. I’ve seen ears and livers actually being grown in laboratories, but the one thing that made the most sense for me came from MIT almost a dozen years ago. They were miniaturizing all types of monitoring devices so that old people could remain living independently in their homes while being monitored 24/7.
Hook me up, baby. I’m here for the duration.