The Internet of Things: Utopia or Distopia by 2025?

A new report out of the Pew Research Center asks--and answers--what the Internet of things will look like by 2025. Firstly, there will be a lot of things.

What's the Latest?


A new report out of the Pew Research Center asks--and answers--what the Internet of things will look like by 2025. Firstly, there will be a lot of things. Cisco Systems predicts there will be more than 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020. Each of those devices will be measuring data and facilitating communication, meaning that the set of information we classify as private will shrink. Frank Pasquale, a law professor at the University of Maryland, says: "There will be a small class of ‘watchers’ and a much larger class of the experimented upon, the watched."

What's the Big Idea?

The Pew report warns that "the level of profiling and targeting will grow and amplify social, economic, and political struggles." The use of facial identification technology, for example, is already causing a firestorm. Another warning issued by the report is that the digital divide, which separates those who can take advantage of new technologies from those who can't, will grow in stark contrast. Having Internet access in developed countries is now essential to executing basic tasks, and affording new technology will only become more essential in the future. Those left behind--the poor and the homeless--will become increasingly invisible to us. 

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