a reckoning for tech by the humans that work with it

Internet of Flärdfull Things

My only interaction with the Internet of Things is watching people complain about rebooting their light bulbs on Twitter. I’ll gladly skip being an early adopter if it means skipping wanting to burn down your house because of the bugs. I want to throw my computer through window often enough. But slowly, slowly, I think we might eventually get a handle on this IoT stuff, although it is likely to drive us mad.

An Ikea Catalog From The Near Future is a cool project from the Near Future Laboratory. It’s only about 8 pages, but I like the approach. (To download the actual pdf, go to this site, add the catalog to your shopping cart, and check out with the $0 purchases. They will get your email, but you’ll get the pdf.)

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From Allison Arlef at the NYT on Target’s Open House (did you see it when you were in SF last – it was just a block away from Moscone): The Internet of Way Too Many Things:

What the products on display have in common is that they don’t solve problems people actually have. Technology is integrated not because it is necessary, but because the technology exists to integrate it — and because it will enable companies to sell you stuff you never knew you were missing.

The Internet of Incompatible Things by Matthew Gerritt on his blog.

I signed up for the Philips developer program and then discovered that the terms and conditions explicitly forbade using any information on their site to implement any kind of Hue-compatible endpoint.

Of course, if everything has a chip in it, everything will crash, and everything will lie to us. Already your VW diesel was lying to you and the government. Internet of Things That Lie: the future of regulation is demonology by Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing.

Just as any user feels their computer to be a fairly unpredictable device full of programs they’ve never installed doing unknown things to which they’ve never agreed to benefit companies they’ve never heard of, inefficiently at best and actively malignant at worst (but how would you now?), cars, street lights, and even buildings will behave in the same vaguely suspicious way. Is your self-driving car deliberately slowing down to give priority to the higher-priced models? Is your green A/C really less efficient with a thermostat from a different company, or it’s just not trying as hard? And your tv is supposed to only use its camera to follow your gestural commands, but it’s a bit suspicious how it always offers Disney downloads when your children are sitting in front of it.

And before we make it to this future that we actually we want, we have the annoying reality of the present. And stupid gadgets that nobody wants. Chronicling the chronically wrongheaded inventors of the Internet of Things are the @InternetofShit Twitter account:

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and the We Put a Chip on It! Tumblr:

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I can read that stuff for hours.And just since we’re talking about Ikea, here’s a guy annoying his girlfriend with puns at Ikea. Those puns, they just don’t write themselves.