Olga Kharif: The Internet of Things

Are you looking forward to the day when your sleeping baby’s diaper tells you it’s wet before the wee wakes Junior? Or are you haunted by the idea that an insurance company, retailer or hostile government could learn everything about you that your TV, appliances or even internal organs are able to divulge? Either way, that future is arriving, as cheap sensors connected to fast wireless networks and the internet invade our lives. Communicating without human intervention, these chatty devices make up what’s known as the internet of things. For consumers, it could mean homes that look after themselves and cars that take over the driving. For industries, the technology is creating automated “smart factories” and warehouses that can fulfill their own orders. But smart sensors also unleash a host of new problems, changing the very nature of privacy itself.

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