Are we ready for the “Internet of Things”? Probably not. The phrase — coined in 1999 by researcher Kevin Ashton while working for Procter & Gamble — refers to things (cars, homes, factories, hospitals) whose performance is monitored and guided by digital networks. We already have one wildly successful example: GPS navigation that directs us to unfamiliar destinations. But countless other possibilities have excited futurists and tech companies.
Be skeptical. It’s not that technological opportunities aren’t genuine. The trouble is that they come with huge risks — risks that tend to be minimized or presumed solvable. The more activities we put on the Internet and other networks, the more vulnerable we become to hacking, cyberwarfare, software glitches and the like.