If the world’s rising interconnectivity was presented as a movie, an appropriate title might be: “The Attack of the Internet of Things.”
A new report from Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center — “The Internet of Things Connectivity Binge: What Are the Implications?” — takes a different approach to the same onslaught. It surveyed over 1,200 experts to get their takes on the consequences of a fully enabled Internet of Things (IoT), framed around this question:
As billions more everyday objects are connected in the Internet of Things, they are sending and receiving data that enhances local, national and global systems as well as individuals’ lives. But such connectedness also creates exploitable vulnerabilities. As automobiles, medical devices, smart TVs, manufacturing equipment and other tools and infrastructure are networked, is it likely that attacks, hacks or ransomware concerns in the next decade will cause significant numbers of people to decide to disconnect, or will the trend toward greater connectivity of objects and people continue unabated?
Fifteen percent of the experts predicted that, in the words of report co-author Lee Rainie, “significant numbers [of users] will withdraw to at least some degree from connected life due to possible risks that will arise as the IoT rolls out.”
When you start thinking about it, the list of risks could make anyone want to retreat to a thoroughly unconnected log cabin.