We’re not talking about killer robots this time, but something much closer to home. How many so-called “smart devices” do you have in your home and on your person? Sure, you’ve probably got a cell phone on you somewhere. Perhaps you even have a Roomba vacuuming your floor. But at the big Consumer Electronics Show this year you’ll see a wide range of other electronic products that are suddenly much “smarter” than they used to be. And pretty much every one of them is collecting data on you and sending it up the line where it’s sold to the highest bidder. (AP News)
One day, finding an oven that just cooks food may be as tough as buying a TV that merely lets you click between channels.
Internet-connected “smarts” are creeping into cars, refrigerators, thermostats, toys and just about everything else in your home. CES 2019, the gadget show opening Tuesday in Las Vegas, will showcase many of these products, including an oven that coordinates your recipes and a toilet that flushes with a voice command.
With every additional smart device in your home, companies are able to gather more details about your daily life. Some of that can be used to help advertisers target you — more precisely than they could with just the smartphone you carry.
Despite the fact that there’s plenty of information available showing how these devices collect data about every aspect of your life and the manufacturers both use and sell that data on the open market, the majority of people seem to either not care or are willing to accept this “new reality” as part of living in the modern world. An estimated 1.8 billion such “smart” devices will ship in 2019, more than double the previous year. And these increasingly intelligent electronic gadgets are taking over your home and your life.
The more disturbing aspect of the story is that very soon you may not even have any other options unless you plan on going totally off the grid and living in a Ted Kaczynski style shed in the mountains. Very soon there likely won’t be any televisions available for sale that aren’t capable of “listening” to what’s going on in the room and recording not only everything you watch but what you do in your living room. This year’s CES features an oven with a window that doubles as a Star Trek-style animation and control panel. It can coordinate with your Google calendar to make sure you have enough time to cook your meal and talk to your refrigerator to see if you have all the ingredients you need.
For Pete’s sake… there’s even a toilet for sale which flushes by voice commands and conveniently records how often you go to the bathroom. And yes… there are companies out there willing to pay for that data so they can send you targeted advertising for laxatives or colon cancer home testing kits.
All of this is done through the miracle of the Internet of Things. That’s the same global architecture that was used to take down half the internet a couple of years back. And that was just some goofy hackers in their mothers’ basements. Just imagine what it will be able to do when the AI wakes up and gets hold of it.
Sleep tight, everyone, and enjoy the electronics show!