Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Thursday, May 30, 2024

Dangers and Opportunities Explored at Internet of Things Conference 

<img style="float: left;" src="" alt="" width="95" height="53" />If our machines get too smart, too interconnected, will they turn on us like the cars, phones and elevators in Stephen Vincent Benet's 1935 poem, "Nightmare Number Three?" Probably not a topic at The Internet of Things Conference 2012 to be held May 15 in London. But forewarned is forearmed.

In Stephen Vincent Benet poem, Nightmare Number Three, published in 1935, machines reach a critical threshold and turn on their human masters. Writes Benet:

We had expected everything but revolt
And I kind of wonder myself when they started thinking—
But there's no dice in that now.
I've heard fellow say
They must have planned it for years and maybe they did…

…It was only the best
Machines, of course, the superhuman machines,
The ones we'd built to be better than flesh and bone,
But the cars were in it, of course . . .
and they hunted us
Like rabbits through the cramped streets on that Bloody Monday,
The Madison Avenue busses leading the charge.

A gruesomely funny little poem and a cautionary tale that attendees at the upcoming The Internet of Things Conference 2012 might well keep in mind. The conference will be held May 15 in London – the UK is a hotbed of activity around the topic.

It's not that we expect our refrigerators or washing machines to start exhibiting lethal behavior once they achieve some kind of linked sentience, but the rapid interconnection of all kinds of devices is bound to have interesting and, in many cases, unknown ramifications.

According to the conference website, "With the number of connected devices set to increase worldwide from the current level of 4.5 billion to 50 billion by 2050, making machine to machine technologies a key focus across sectors, this event comes at a time the internet of things has reached a critical juncture…Areas of technology, business models, security, consumer psychology, leadership and regulation will all have to be addressed and will require the involvement of government, industry and academia working together to devise scalable solutions and to establish a market in this new sector."

You can read an earlier article we wrote on the Internet of Things here, and if you're involved and interested in how the Internet is evolving, you might want to attend the gathering. In the meantime, keep a sharp eye on your smartphone and your automobile. If they start exhibiting deviant tendencies, make a run for it.