So if the headlines on my phone’s news app are to be believed, the latest Consumer Electronics Show focused a lot on “The Internet of Things” — i.e., connecting everything from smart clothing to smart kitchens to smart door and window locks to the Internet. This isn’t exactly a new development, but it seems to be closer to the verge of becoming commonplace.
I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, holy cow! Look how futuristic! We’re one step closer to living like the Jetsons! Get me one of everything!
On the other hand . . . am I the only one who thinks becoming even more dependent on technology and the Internet than we already are has maybe just a smidgen of potential to be a Very Bad Idea? Like maybe this also puts us one step closer to ending up like the folks in Revolution?
Good thing I read all those Little House books so I’ll still know how to do basic things like cooking and cleaning and staying warm if the grid ever goes down and the Internet goes away — unlike those poor (rich) people who can’t turn on the stove or unlock the front door to leave the house without their smart phones and wifi connections.
Okay, maybe I’m being a bit hyperbolic. But then again, maybe not. It wasn’t all that long ago in the course of human history that the supermarket was a brand new invention that boggled people’s minds. No longer was it necessary to keep a vegetable garden, or visit the butcher or the pharmacy, or have your milk delivered! You could do it all in one place! And you didn’t have to store up plenty of food for the winter anymore because the grocery store is just blocks away! So convenient!
It is indeed so convenient — so much so that it only took a few generations for us to become so dependent on grocery stores that people in urban areas literally starve and riot when natural disasters keep the stores from getting restocked.
How long will it take us to become so dependent on being wired in that we can’t even figure out how to boil an egg or toast bread without help from technology? And then what happens to society if it all goes away?
Not to mention how we’re making it super easy for Skynet and/or the Cylons to enslave and/or destroy us. Hey, even Stephen Hawking thinks that could happen — and he’s not alone. Self-aware machines and doomsday scenarios aside, just look at everything that’s happened lately with the NSA using the Internet to snoop on us. Is it really a good idea to be so hooked in that they have access to our homes as well?
In all seriousness, I think a lot of the new tech is pretty cool, and I’m all for things that make life easier and give us more time to focus on what really matters in life (like having a fridge that automatically tweets what we’re having for dinner!). Still (she said, as if she could actually afford any of these gadgets anyway), I think I’ll be proceeding with caution. I’d love to have my very own Rosie the Robot around to do all of my housework, but don’t think I’ll be turning my back to her if that ever happens.