This week's talking point is the Internet of Things (IoT). Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas come to mind more easily the day you get together with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.
How would your life be different without the internet?
What, in your view, is the best thing about the internet?
What is the worst thing?
Have you heard of the Internet of Things (IoT)?
If so, how would you explain it?
If not, what do you think it means?
Which different items of technology, in today’s world, which are connected to the Internet can you think of (v.g., smart-heating systems, ticketing systems for rail transport)?
Do you think the benefits are greater than the risks?
What problems have you experienced with technology? Give examples.
How many handheld smart devices (e.g. smartphone, table) do you own?
Which do you use the most? Why?
How fast and reliable is the internet connection in your home / at work?
Have you read any news stories about internet-based security attacks?
What precautions do you take in this respect?
Do you think technology isolates or connects people? How?
To illustrate the topic, watch the Watch Mojo video Top 5 Facts about the Internet of Things.
Because of the Internet of Things, more electronic devices are being connected to the Internet, and they’re talking to each other behind your back. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Facts. In this instalment, we’re taking a look at the Internet of Things and how it’s becoming a major part of our lives, in ways you probably didn’t know.
Number 5 The Internet of Things Is Already in Effect
The Internet of Things is an emerging technology, where machines are embedded with sensors that allow them to relay data to each other with little to no human involvement. Basically, it means all sorts of everyday items are connected to the Internet, which could potentially transform the way we live. One of the earliest examples of this concept actually goes back to the early 1970s, when the first ATMs went online. Some items you may already own which incorporate the Internet of Things include the Apple Watch, fit bits, and smart home appliances like refrigerators. Many other items are in the midst of getting the Internet of Things treatment, like cars in the street which could work together to facilitate the flow of rush hour traffic.
Number 4 Big Businesses Are Already Investing Billions into the Concept
In 2008, there were officially more devices connected to the Internet than there were human beings, and by 2020, that number is expected to go up to 50 billion, according to Cisco. Tech companies see a promising future in the Internet of Things, claiming that it will make businesses more efficient. In a recent report, GE predicted that the IoT will add as much as $15 trillion to the global GDP in the next 20 years, and according to projections by Business Insider, these products will outperform the tablet, PC, and phone market combined. For the time being, the largest market will be smart home technology such as thermostats made by Nest, a company Google bought for $3.2 billion. According to BI Intelligence, the IoT market is estimated to be worth $490 billion by 2019, but this remains speculative. It is possible that consumers will by and large fail to see any value in having all their possessions networked, and those projections will prove grossly overblown.
It’s got a computer chip in it. Everything does.
Number 3 The Internet of Things Could Save Lives
While the IoT will no doubt make tech giants much richer, it might also benefit the rest of us. IoT technology could completely revolutionize patient care as well as improve communication between doctors and their patients. For example, at the University of Tokyo, researchers have created an electricity-conducting ink that can be printed onto clothing, and used to measure heart rate or muscle contractions, so people can easily monitor their own vital signs. IoT technology can also help in emergency situations. If someone has a heart attack or stroke, relevant data from the patient’s medical history can be sent to the doctor before the ambulance takes the patient to the hospital, giving physicians a few more crucial minutes to figure out the best treatment possible.
Number 2 Wi-Fi Developments Will Make the Internet of Things Work Better
Scientists and engineers from the University of Washington have invented a new Wi-Fi system that transmits Wi-Fi using 10,000 times less power than current generators. This could allow for very low power sensors to be placed in just about anything. Another system, Power over Wifi, or PoWifi for short, allows enabled devices to convert Wifi signal itself into a DC current. Yes, soon new devices could be powered by Wi-Fi. If engineers could bring these or other technologies together, devices and appliances can be interconnected and continue to run on an energy loop powered by that same Wi-Fi, and this will only make the Internet of Things more efficient, accessible and convenient for us.
Number 1 The Internet of Things Could Come with Security Problems
We're sweeping every wirelessly accessible camera on the planet, cell phones, laptops. If it's connected to a satellite, it’s eyes and ears for us.
Though the IoT looks like it offers countless benefits, there are also some potential security issues. For one, it gives companies more opportunities to invade our privacy. For example, the Indian firm Silver Push has technology that can track you across multiple platforms and devices by embedding tiny sounds into websites or television programmes that while inaudible to us can be detected by our devices, and that data can be fed back to Silver Push.
That can’t be true, honey. If it were, I’d be terrified.
According to a study by Hewlett-Packard, 70% of IoT enabled devices can potentially be hacked. Kind of makes you wary of products like Logitech smart remotes or the Amazon Dash button, doesn’t it? The fear, as unlikely as it may seem to some, is that we inadvertently end up in a surveillance estate where companies watch over us like Big Brother.
So, what do you think? Will the Internet of Things improve our lives or lead to a bleak, dystopian future? For more interconnected top 10s and invasive top 5s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.