One trillion devices connected – so what?

Last week I attended the very interesting FIA (Future Internet Assembly) conference in Dublin.
It was repeatedly stated that in 2020 we expect between 20 billion and 1 trillion devices connected to the Future Internet (which will hopefully not be “future” any more in 2020). Some of us might doubt whether this will really already happen within 7 years. I don’t think the crucial point is when it will happen; the point is that eventually it will definitely happen. We are probably not yet aware of the unbelievable potential such a scenario could have on our existence. It has the potential for a disruptive explosion of services and possibilities we do not even think about today – maybe similar to the explosion of life on earth after single cell life forms learned how to communicate with other cells many hundred million years ago.

With this we are entering the scenario so vividly described by the famous science fiction author Dan Simmons in his Ilium Saga where “every plant, every animal, every erg of energy on the planet” are interconnected and “create a complete, total information ecology, which touches everything on, above and under the Earth”.
Moving from science fiction to our real world it opens great opportunities for better quality of life, interesting jobs, new exciting personalised services, and much more. This is not only a huge challenge from the technological perspective; also from a societal point of view it is a huge undertaking. We must take the people with us into this new exciting world in a way they feel comfortable and see the benefits and the improvements this will bring. There will be many questions which need answers and which I am sure will be answered – technically as well as politically and regulatory, including personal privacy and integrity of individual identities. I am personally looking forward to those exciting times, and as a user I will watch very carefully how it will impact the world around me.
And I am curious how the visions of science fiction authors will be influenced by this.

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