The Internet, The Things and The People

The world is not what it used to be. We're more connected for starters. It's now possible to stay in touch with someone at the other end of the world in real time and at a fraction of the cost of yesteryears.

In the last 2.5 ...3 decades, the Internet has come up from an idea to a concept, and now to the established, unshakeable reality that it is today. Withdrawals and addiction to the internet have become common. That said, we the users cannot deny that it does make the world an easier place for us to live in.

A little too easy at times. We don't have to get lost, lesser things get lost in translation, the limelight covers a far wider region than it used to, we stay in touch with many more friends! (The quality of those relationships is another debate) Yes, the internet is a double-edged sword - but more and more of a necessary evil. One that is now spreading its wings wider.

I heard about the Internet of Things in a serious context less than a year ago. Conceptually, it's not very different from things AI movies have shown us. It involves getting the internet incorporated in many of the basic things we use, making them smarter. Helping them customize every experience we have.

The internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.In 2013 the Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI) defined the IoT as "the infrastructure of the information society."The IoT allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure,  creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy, and economic benefit.
Source Wikipedia

Imagine a world where you can check your gas or if you've turned off the iron box, or if you've locked your house from anywhere you are. A world where the chair knows who is sitting on it, and adjusts itself to fit the sitter. A car that can offer you the best possible route for your trip, possibly even drive itself. Cars that communicate with each other and the roads - the ecosystem in general - such that accidents are greatly reduced.

A world where your kitchen communicates with your grocer - automatically generating orders of necessities to be restocked.

Such a world is not very far in our future.
However, there are quite a few parts of that that bother me.

The Things that become smarter first will not be decided on the priority of our needs, but the investment capability of the conglomerates who will be researching it. Yes, they will do some customer research ... but come on, we know how that works.

The Nations that progress will be the already developed ones. And with the speed of technology development, it leaves a wider gap between the developed and the developing. Already quite noticeable.

A similar situation for the People who have access to this technology. So much more since private schools have quickly started adopting Smart Classrooms. E-Assignment submissions are the norm in most of the elite schools. Paperless offices are picking up.

That is one side of the coin, whereas the other side has kids with no access to basic school supplies and workers are drowning in paper work and doing manual labour which has been mechanized elsewhere.

The Internet Service Providers are looking for ways to put the internet in many more places - connecting everything into one, solving many problems and giving rise to new ones - The service providers look for ways to increase the reach of the internet.

India is the second most populous nation in the world. By sheer numbers, it might easily be on the top 5 list of Nations with the most number of smartphone users. But by ratio we've only covered a quarter of the nation.
There are countries which have reached the higher 80s or early 90s in coverage and have the bandwidth to cover the rest.

That means that 75% of the nation still has no access to the internet. They don't know what Google is. They don't know if it's a noun or a verb. They don't know what email is. Even if they do, they don't have a way to use it.

I recently went to a discussion that Aircel lead regarding the propagation of use of smartphones - because, let's face it, that's the easiest and cheapest way to get the internet reach the masses. The government has definitely been helping in making cheaper smartphones available for all. Service providers are doing their bit and for phone signals to reach even the hamlets. Aircel, for instance, has been providing free internet for the first six months of starting their service. Nice way to get people hooked, don't you think?

I look forward to the day that internet reaches almost everyone. Not because I'm a strong supporter, but because I do believe the Internet provides substantial power in terms of connectivity to the world, and it should be a balanced power.
(However, the affordability and the buying power does play a strong part, I know)
I also hope that this happens a little faster before too many things get woven in the web - making the catch-up run more difficult !

But let's face it, my wishes are idealistic.
There are bigger powers at play here. Much like during the times when we had monarchies and kingdoms ruling the world.

We watch, speculate, comment and wonder what next and when!


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