A Pet Of The Internet Of Things

In 2012 Bruce Sterling talked about web ‘stacks’, large companies based online that have built around themselves a self supporting network that mines and stores big data. As the value of personal information is increasing due to marketing and audience control, these stack companies are becoming increasingly creative with how they gather, access and use the information they draw from users on a daily basis. To this, I find myself thinking about our role in the process data mining and the idea of ‘the internet of things‘.

The Internet Of Things

The internet of things is an abstract idea slung around by companies to refer to the interconnected network between objects with sensors and other data producers. The internet of things isn’t exclusive to the internet and can be used without the internet altogether.

A Game Of Data

An example that relates to the idea of the internet of things is the Xbox One and it’s extension, the Xbox Kinect. When first announced, the Xbox One was going to require it’s infra-red camera and microphone device to be connected and always on. Of course having a camera that can always see and hear you in the dark stirred some controversy. I can’t imagine why…

HAL 9000 from Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘space odyssey’ series.

While Microsoft did assure us that spying was not an issue and that all channels will be encrypted and that did quell the fears of many, I would like to suggest that being spied on in the moment is not what we should be worried about. A device that monitors and tracks how we move, when we do so during the day and week and stores our voices in the form of phrases to better understand us has to store all this information somewhere. That kind of database could potentially map so many aspects of our behaviour. This data is extremely valuable as it can be used to know so much about a products user base. By knowing when we are available to play its games, Microsoft can know when is the best time to air its advertisements and announce new products. By analysing what physical movements we’re most likely to do, Microsoft can build games and advertisements around our very habits. Couple this with a fitness tracker (Which Xbox One has by the way) the potential to understand all about our personal lives is endless.

Where We Fit In

Before I wrote about Sterling’s stacks and our role as consumers to these stacks, we are the farm produce. We’re grown and nurtured and when we’ve accumulated enough data, it’s harvested to allow for more users. On the other hand, what makes humans unique is that we study ad understand things and we build from what we understand. When we start to build machines that can not only outperform us physically but also know everything we do plus more, we are no longer the superior race, we are the pets.


5 thoughts on “A Pet Of The Internet Of Things”

  1. Brilliant take on the subject topic for the week. I liked that you included subheading to break up the text and talk about different issues. The Internet of Things on a gaming level is something I did not immediately think of (being fairly new and quite naive in the gaming world). The advancement and capabilities of technology in today’s society are proving to show we may no longer be the superior race as you’ve said. What give me hope is that a 5yr old can hack into an x-box live account, and show that even stringent security measures can still fall to human behaviour.

  2. Having a relatable, modern example (Xbox One), is such a great way to bring the weeks material to the people. I find this technique effective when writing for an audience. Your work needs some slight proof reading, but that is to be forgiven this time in semester. Well done, a great post.

  3. Really enjoyed the closing paragraph here- a nicely articulated alternate perspective on the essential difference between machines and humans- are ability to understand and comprehend.

  4. This is a super novel (if somewhat cynical) take on this topic. I love the images and examples, but would’ve liked more analysis on what progress is being made on tech that predicts our movements and such, which is the natural extension of this.

  5. I like your subheadings, it makes your post really easy to follow. I have an Xbox One, and I was tossing up between ignoring the data collecting ability of it, or being outraged. I went with the former, if only for the fact that the only data Microsoft would be able to gather about me is just how much time I ACTUALLY spend on the couch in my pyjamas, doing absolutely nothing.

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