Friday, October 22, 2010

IBM on Systems of Systems - Combating Paranoia?

 IBM's first Internet of Things video was pretty impressive. I thought it was a really good overview of the core concepts behind IoT. It had a creative presentation and I took it for what it is: A 5-minute video describing the sort of world we're creating. It doesn't answer any of the interesting questions that come to mind, but it clearly doesn't pretend to, either. Heck, my only real criticism of the video was that it didn't even ASK any of the really important ones. But it was still a neat presentation.

A few weeks ago, IBM introduced their next video in the series: Systems of Systems. Another pretty good video. It didn't seem to have the same creative vibe as the first one, but started asking (and preemptively answering) real questions. Note the particular attention paid to two messages: First, that IoT is simply the next evolution of what has been going on throughout history. And second, that computers can never take over the world or go out of control and cause total havoc and pandemonium, so IoT is nothing to worry about.

Before we even get to the discussion of those issues (which will be the topic of future posts), the main question to ask is why they took such a turn of direction on this one. The answer is simple: Read the comments posted for the first video. There's a pretty overwhelming percentage of posts by people who find IBM's IoT message to be just a bit naive and more than a bit scary. And most of the people who aren't saying that are asking why we would want such a thing to begin with.

The reality is that this is how technology (r)evolutions go. There is a vision for the future in the Internet of Things, and that vision is perceived as pretty scary by people who either don't understand it or get fixated on the potential negative sides. But that doesn't mean those fears are irrational or unfounded. In fact, it's critically important that these people speak out and make the technologists pay attention. If they didn't force a discussion about the tough questions, we'd surely be worse off.

No comments:

Post a Comment