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( A Rather long read 20th to 30th minutes)

This is a sort of follow on from the Post – These days what it means to be Human.

Today, 43% of the world’s population are connected to the internet, mostly in developed countries. 

The ubiquitous presence of digital technologies and, along with it, ongoing connection of people, information, smart devices, sensors, objects etc, across intelligent networks, various types of clouds and processes is sometimes called The Internet of Everything.

By approaching it as a “thing” we risk losing ourselves in a Babylonian confusion.

That consumer fascination/applications aspect comes on top of all the real-life possibilities as they start getting implemented right now and the contextual and technological realities, making the Internet of Things one of those many pervasive technological umbrella terms, leading to genuine digital transformation opportunities in several areas, digital disruptions and, simply, business opportunities in the broadest sense.

There is no doubt that the internet is changing the way we live, work, produce and consume.

Smart meters:  To improve efficiency in energy, from a household perspective (savings, better monitoring etc.) and a utility company perspective (billing, better processes and of course also dealing with natural resources in a more efficient way as they are not endless).

Retail:  In an ongoing effort to digitize the consumer experience. Digital signage in retail outlets is in fact the big driver in 2015.

Whether our species evolves or collapses depends on what we do now with With such extensive reach, digital technologies cannot help but disrupt many of our existing models of business and government.

We become weaker when we keep giving away our power to technology–that is, to external objects. We then become dependent upon these objects, and soon get to the point where we can’t do anything for ourselves.

The number of people on the planet is set to rise to 9.7 billion in 2050 with 2 billion aged over 60.

We are entering the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a technological transformation driven by a ubiquitous and mobile internet.

Within the next decade, it is expected that more than a trillion sensors will be connected to the internet.

By 2025, 10% of people are expected to be wearing clothes connected to the internet and the first implantable mobile phone is expected to be sold.

The question is :

If almost everything is connected, will it transform how we do business and go about our daily lives and will it help us manage resources more efficiently and sustainably or will it turn all of us into Google Dummies / Amazon Consumers and how will this affect our personal privacy, data security and our personal relationships?

It is changing our ability to cross the great divide of otherness and really speak to each other in unique and powerful ways.

The growth of the digital economy, the rise of the service sector and the spread of international production networks have all been game-changers for international trade.

If the internet is not made available to all earth’s inhabitants at an affordable cost the miraculous healing awaits this planet will never happen.

Just look at the growing unease over globalization, which is evident from the number of questions being asked about the power of corporations and the adequacy of the regulations governing employment, environmental issues and taxation. All distracting us from  long-term investment, which has serious implications for global growth.

We’re already seeing and feeling the impacts of climate change with weather events such as droughts and storms becoming more frequent and intense, and changing rainfall patterns.

Insurers estimate that since the 1980s weather-related economic loss events have tripled.

There is only one way of achieving change. We must accept our new responsibility to collectively tend the garden rather than fight over the turf.

One thing we can agree on is that the internet of Things still has a long way to go and that growth of connected devices or “intelligent things” will indeed grow exponentially over the coming years. 

There is a LOT that can still be connected.

There are numerous reasons for the growing attention for the Internet of Things.

While you will often will read about the decreasing costs of storage, processing and material or the third platform with the cloud, big data, smart (mobile) technologies/devices, etc. there certainly is also a societal/people dimension with a strong consumer element.

Experts predict the Internet will become ‘like electricity’ — less visible, yet more deeply embedded in people’s lives for good and ill.

The world is moving rapidly towards ubiquitous connectivity that will further change how and where people associate, gather and share information, and consume media.

The experts agree on the technology change that lies ahead, even as they disagree about its ramifications. Most believe there will be:

  • A global, immersive, invisible, ambient networked computing environment built through the continued proliferation of smart sensors, cameras, software, databases, and massive data centers in a world-spanning information fabric known as the Internet of Things.
  • “Augmented reality” enhancements to the real-world input that people perceive through the use of portable/wearable/implantable technologies.
  • Disruption of business models established in the 20th century (most notably impacting finance, entertainment, publishers of all sorts, and education).
  • Tagging, databasing, and intelligent analytical mapping of the physical and social realms.

Here is what I see.

It is revolutionizing most human interaction, especially affecting health, education, work, politics, economics, and entertainment.

On the downside:

Interpersonal ethics, surveillance, terror, and crime, may lead societies to question how best to establish security and trust while retaining civil liberties.

More and more, humans will be in a world in which decisions are being made by an active set of cooperating devices. The Internet (and computer-mediated communication in general) will become more pervasive but less explicit and visible.

It will, to some extent, blend into the background of all we do. It will be a world more integrated than ever before.

We will see more planetary friendships, rivalries, romances, work teams, study groups, and collaborations.

We will become far more knowledgeable about the consequences of our actions; we will edit our behavior more quickly and intelligently.

It will change how we think about people, how we establish trust, how we negotiate change, failure, and success.

We will grow accustomed to seeing the world through multiple data layers. This will change a lot of social practices, such as dating, job interviewing and professional networking, and gaming, as well as policing and espionage.

With mobile technologies and information-sharing apps becoming ubiquitous, we can expect some significant improvement in the awareness of otherwise illiterate and ill-informed rural populations to opportunities missed out by manipulative and corrupt governments. Like the Arab Spring, we can expect more and more uprisings to take place as people become more informed and able to communicate their concerns.

There will be increased awareness of the massive disparities in access to health care, clear water, education, food, and human rights.

The power of nation-states to control every human inside its geographic boundaries may start to diminish.

The problems that humanity now faces are problems that can’t be contained by political borders or economic systems. Traditional structures of government and governance are therefore ill-equipped to create the sensors, the flows, the ability to recognize patterns, the ability to identify root causes, the ability to act on the insights gained, the ability to do any or all of this at speed, while working collaboratively across borders and time zones and sociopolitical systems and cultures.

From climate change to disease control, from water conservation to nutrition, from the resolution of immune-system-weakness conditions to solving the growing obesity problem, the answer lies in what the Internet will be in decades to come.

By 2025, we will have a good idea of its foundations.

The Internet will generate several new related networks. Some will require verified identification to access, while others will promise increased privacy.

The biggest impact on the world will be universal access to all human knowledge.

Will the Internet make it possible for our entire civilization to collapse together, in one big awful heap? Possibly.

But the Internet has already made it possible for us to use one of our unique graces — the ability to share knowledge — for good, and to a degree never before possible.

We have to think seriously about the kinds of conflicts that will arise in response to the growing inequality enabled and amplified by means of networked transactions that benefit smaller and smaller segments of the global population.

Social media will facilitate and amplify the feelings of loss and abuse. They will also facilitate the sharing of examples and instructions about how to challenge, resist, and/or punish what will increasingly come to be seen as unjust.

Cyber-terrorism will become commonplace.

Privacy and confidentiality of any and all personal will become a thing of the past.

Online ‘diseases’ — mental, physical, social, addictions (psycho-cyber drugs) — will affect families and communities and spread willy-nilly across borders.

The digital divide will grow and worsen beyond the control of nations or global organizations such as the UN. This will increasingly polarize the planet between haves and have-nots. Global companies will exploit this polarization. Digital criminal networks will become realities of the new frontiers. Terrorism, both by organizations and individuals, will be daily realities. The world will become less and less safe, and only personal skills and insights will protect individuals.

There will be greater group-think, group-speak and mob mentality … More uninformed individuals will influence others to the detriment of standard of living and effective government.

Governments will become much more effective in using the Internet as an instrument of political and social control. That is, filters will be increasingly valuable and important, and effective and useful filters will be able to charge for their services. People will be more than happy to trade the free-wheeling aspect common to many Internet sites for more structured and regulated environments.

The information we want will increasingly find its way to us, as networks learn to accurately predict our interests and weaknesses. But that will also tempt us to stop seeking out knowledge, narrowing our horizons, even as we delve evermore deep.

The privacy premium may also be a factor: only the relatively well-off (and well-educated) will know how to preserve their privacy in 2025.

The most neglected aspect of the impact is in the geopolitics of the Internet. There are very few experts focused on this, and yet the rise of digital media promises significant disruption to relations between and among states. Some of the really important dimensions include the development of transnational political actors/movements, the rise of the virtual state, the impact of digital diplomacy efforts, the role of information in undermining state privilege (think Wikileaks), and … the development of cyber-conflict (in both symmetric and asymmetric forms).

It is going to systemically change our understandings of being human, being social, and being political.

It is not merely a tool of enforcing existing systems; it is a structural change in the systems that we are used to. And this means that we are truly going through a paradigm shift — which is celebratory for what it brings, but it also produces great precariousness because existing structures lose meaning and valence, and hence, a new world order needs to be produced in order to accommodate for these new modes of being and operation.

The greatest impact of the Internet is what we are already witnessing, but it is going to accelerate.

More people will lose their grounding in the realities of life and work, instead considering those aspects of the world amenable to expression as information as if they were the whole world.

The scale of the interactions possible over the Internet will tempt more and more people into more interactions than they are capable of sustaining, which on average will continue to lead each interaction to be more superficial.

Given there is strong evidence that people are much more willing to commit petty crimes against people and organizations when they have no face-to-face interaction, the increasing proportion of human interactions mediated by the Internet will continue the trend toward less respect and less integrity in our relations.

The Internet, automation, and robotics will disrupt the economy as we know it.

How will we provide for the humans who can no longer earn money through labor?

The opportunities are simply tremendous. Information, the ability to understand that information, and the ability to act on that information will be available ubiquitously … Or we could become a ‘brave new world’ where the government (or corporate power) knows everything about everyone everywhere and every move can be foreseen, and society is taken over by the elite with control of the technology…

The good news is that the technology that promises to turn our world on its head is also the technology with which we can build our new world.  It offers an unbridled ability to collaborate, share, and interact.

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

It is a very good time to start inventing the future.

The most significant impact of the Internet is getting us to imagine different paths that the future may take. These paths help us to be better prepared for long-term contingencies; by identifying key indicators, and amplifying signals of change, they help us ensure that our decisions along the way are flexible enough to accommodate change…Afficher l'image d'origine

That billions more people are poised to come online in the emerging economies seems certain. Yet much remains uncertain: from who will have access, how, when, and at what price to the Internet’s role as an engine for innovation and the creation of commercial, social, and human value. As users, industry players, and policymakers, the interplay of decisions that we make today and in the near future will determine the evolution of the Internet and the shape it takes by 2025, in both intended and unintended ways.

Regardless of how the future unfolds, the Internet will evolve in ways we can only begin to imagine. By allowing ourselves to explore and rehearse divergent and plausible futures for the Internet, not only do we prepare for any future, we can also help shape it for the better.