The Fourth Industrial Revolution
What It Means and How to Respond
How to Make Almost Anything
The Digital Fabrication Revolution
As Objects Go Online
The Promise (and Pitfalls) of the Internet of Things
The Rise of Big Data
How It's Changing the Way We Think About the World
The Mobile-Finance Revolution
How Cell Phones Can Spur Development
Biology's Brave New World
The Promise and Perils of the Synbio Revolution
The Robots Are Coming
How Technological Breakthroughs Will Transform Everyday Life
New World Order
Labor, Capital, and Ideas in the Power Law Economy
Will Humans Go the Way of Horses?
Labor in the Second Machine Age
Same as It Ever Was
Why the Techno-optimists Are Wrong
The Future of Cities
The Internet of Everything will Change How We Live
The Coming Robot Dystopia
All Too Inhuman
The Political Power of Social Media
Technology, the Public Sphere, and Political Change
From Innovation to Revolution
Do Social Media Make Protests Possible?
The Next Safety Net
Social Policy for a Digital Age
The Moral Code
How To Teach Robots Right and Wrong
Focus on Data Use, Not Data Collection
The Power of Market Creation
How Innovation Can Spur Development
The Innovative State
Governments Should Make Markets, Not Just Fix Them
Food and the Transformation of Africa
Getting Smallholders Connected
Since 1969, when the first bit of data was transmitted over what would come to be known as the Internet, that global network has evolved from linking mainframe computers to connecting personal computers and now mobile devices. By 2010, the number of computers on the Internet had surpassed the number of people on earth.
Yet that impressive growth is about to be overshadowed as the things around us start going online as well, part of what is called “the Internet of Things.” Thanks to advances in circuits and software, it is now possible to make a Web server that fits on (or in) a fingertip for $1. When embedded in everyday objects, these small computers can send and receive information via the Internet so that a coffeemaker can turn on when a person gets out of bed and turn off when a cup is loaded into a dishwasher, a stoplight can communicate with roads to route cars around traffic, a building can operate more efficiently by knowing where people are and what they’re doing, and even the health of the whole planet can be monitored in real time by aggregating the data from all such devices.
Linking the digital and physical worlds in these ways will have profound implications for both. But this future won’t be realized unless the Internet of Things learns from the history of the Internet. The open standards and decentralized design of the Internet won out over competing proprietary systems and centralized control by offering fewer obstacles to innovation and growth. This battle has resurfaced with the proliferation of conflicting visions of how devices should communicate. The challenge is primarily organizational, rather then technological, a contest between command-and-control technology and distributed solutions. The Internet of Things demands the latter, and openness will eventually triumph.
THE CONNECTED LIFE
The Internet of Things is not just science fiction; it has already arrived. Some of the things currently networked together send data over the public Internet, and some communicate over secure
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