When Everything Is Smart.

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We’re quickly moving from a world of ubiquitous computing to “the internet of everything” (or IoE). As chips become cheaper and cheaper to produce, they will become imbedded in everything from your lawn sprinklers to your toothbrush. Gartner Research has estimated that the number of connected devices could surpass 30 billion in the next five years—that’s bigger than the size of the smartphone, PC, tablet, connected car and wearable market, combined. Most of us still tend to think of the IoE as the connectivity of our computer devices, but we’re rapidly advancing to a world in which literally everything will be connected, in real-time—from our houses and vehicles to entire city infrastructures and global, planetary awareness systems. This gathering of data, and the networks emerging to synchronize this learning, are paving the way for increasingly automated responses to the world around us, allowing us to be both more self-regulated, and, externally monitored at the same time.

From window shades suddenly closing on a sunny afternoon to medicine cabinets that see a pattern of illness forming and pre-order medicine, you begin to imagine what life could look like when it is nearly 100% quantified, and optimized, as we rely evermore on algorithms and ambient technology for guidance. Our relationship with our surroundings will be completely different. We’ll increasingly be able to interact with an intelligence, intimacy and relevance never before imagined. It will impact every aspect of our business systems and practices… and our relationships with others.

This will have a dramatic impact on what we know and how we make choices (or don’t). And interestingly, having vast amounts of data about real behavior will often challenge current orthodoxies about how things work; we will be forced to rethink many things.

What opportunities will this advancing technology open across every aspect of business—from store shelf to packaging to supply chain management, to the product itself?

How will it change our everyday work as smart machines either replace or augment our current roles?

What ethical questions will it raise? Will we choose to use the vast amounts of data to serve people ( …or to stalk them)? What will guide us?

And on the most human level, what will deliver surprise in a world that is predictably perfect?

Image: Best Computer Science Degrees via PSFK

 

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