Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Lack of Making Connections When the Commercial World Tries to Connect Us to New Products and Features


The Motherboard article linked below about the new security risks of an "Internet of Things" wants, at the very least, to imply that this is a new, and amazingly unforeseen, aspect of the brave new world of Internet product enhancements. Enhancements that have had marketers salivating at the prospect of new sales potential.

What we're really talking about here, though, is as old as Stuart Brand, and the notion of "Holistic Thinking" (epitomised by his Whole Earth Catalog). Back then, of course, the idea was introduced as a counterforce to our lack of understanding of complex, interdependent biological, and geophysical systems; especially as this related to the unbridled consideration that any aspect of those systems could be exploited commercially without much regard to the larger picture of their effects. And why, in any case, would commercial interests be so concerned when the whole point of commercial enterprise is to be profitable, after all?

But that's always been the problem, hasn't it. Get, in make your quick buck, and get out so you can go find the next 'big thing" to attract increasingly feature jaded buyers. Stated another way, one could simply point out that Capitalism, created back in an age of segmented, and abstracted, rationalism, was never intended for such big picture thinking at all. Why then would we be surprised at it;s lack of employing it now?

The problem now, though, especially with the advent of electrified interconnection of virtually all aspects of life, plucking one part of the web of so many different delivery, or servicing, or management, systems, is that the waves of effect spread out through them all, more and more, at the speed of light. And you are a fool indeed if you think any kind of market, free or otherwise, that is still based on human control, can be expected to respond to these kinds of challenges in anything even approaching a real time context.

And in the next breath, if you then start to clamor for government intervention, as this linked article does, for an imposition of standards and enforcement of such, how can that then balance with the already existing, and quite contradictory, notion of "less is more" as far as government is concerned in the commercial world.

The fact of the matter here is that we are being presented with just one more example of how ill suited to the 21st century Capitalism really is. And I can assure you that time is not on our side as far as responding to that simple true is concerned.


The Internet of Things Will Turn Large-Scale Hacks into Real World Disasters

Written by

BRUCE SCHNEIER