Pew Research Center has provided a detailed overview of how 1,600 experts think the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable tech will affect the global community by the year 2025. The idea behind the Internet of Things is that all devices, from toasters to fridges, should be connected to the Internet and each other. By 2025, that sort of technology will not only be possible but will be ubiquitous, greatly affecting the way we live, according to Pew.
With the rise of the Internet of Things comes an entirely new market of which almost everyone will be a part. Since the amount of money that can be made from the industry is substantial, companies like Cisco are getting in early and pushing the market forward. Earlier this month, Cisco dedicated an additional $150 million to the Internet of Things. Investments like Cisco's are part of the reason why the market will be so significant by 2025.
There have yet to be numerous studies looking at the Internet of Things and the potential that it has, which makes the Pew Research Center Internet Project's report so important. While it may be a term that is used on a frequent basis, Internet of Things means something different depending on who you ask. Pew addressed this problem by providing a straightforward definition of the concept.
Pew defined the Internet of Things as "a global, immersive, invisible, ambient networked computing environment built through the continued proliferation of smart sensors, cameras, software , databases, and massive data centers in a world-spanning information fabric."
With that definition, it is easy to see how everyday people will be affected by IoT. The future that Pew sees is one where sensors and cameras are everywhere and they are intelligent enough to respond in a way that will hopefully improve the quality of life for many people. At the same time, greater efficiency comes with a slew of completely new problems.
No Place to Hide
The average American citizen is already well aware of the privacy implications of our connectedness through devices and services like Facebook. However, privacy may be a thing of the past if we let technology get ahead of us.
In the report, college professor Peter Jacoby provided one of bleakest outlooks for privacy advocates.
"The effects will be widespread but pernicious," Jacoby said. "We might as well inject ourselves into the Internet of Things. By 2025, we will have long ago given up our privacy. The Internet of Things will demand -- and we will give willingly -- our souls."
Jacoby's outlook is likely correct considering that the conflict between technology and privacy is already being seen today. At the same time as individuals are fighting back against the National Security Agency because of its data collection, people are sharing massive amounts of data with companies like Google. These privacy issues will simply be amplified by 2025 as companies, insurance providers, and governments receive a constant stream of information from those that decide to be connected.