[Liveblog] Marcel Schouwenaar on a responsible Internet of Things

There is no cloud. It's just your stuff on someone else's computer. And that means we need to think privacy with the IoT.

Marcel Schouwenaar, The Incredible Machine

Warning: Liveblogging. Prone to error, inaccuracy and howling crimes against grammar. This post will be improved over the first 48 hours after publication.

Marcel’s Dad found his computer being corrupted by malware. He was a programmer and he was stunned this was happening. And this is a mature platform: Windows. What happens when we connect objects to the web?

We don’t have the tools to deal with this yet. What happens if an update to your phone lock you out of your house? Yes, there are opportunities. i want to know when tow are my plants or when there’s a fire in the kitchen.

But this is the thing with things.

A couple of years ago, Phillips came to them and asked them to help connect their shavers and toothbrushes. They came back with the answer “there is no use case”. But they went on to do a connected toothbrush which give skids points for brushing their teeth. Kids are now addicted to it…

The inevitable Internet of Things

The internet of things is going to happen. Thanks to Moore’s Law, the price of having connectivity and sensors are dropping to the marginal cost level. Today: furniture. Tomorrow: forks and spoons?

Companies seek competitive advantage. These are really strong forces in business. Too often the user gets forgotten in this. They have no advocates in the business. We need to think about that.

Just because we can connect something, doesn’t mean we should connect it. Connected fridges have a long way to go to be useful. If money is flowing towards sock-matching technology, then it is going the wrong way. Barbie is on the cover of the New York Times Magazine because she has a brain, now. She is connected, with an intelligent agent.

Technology should improve the play experience in toys. Does this do that?

The privacy problem

What do we do about privacy? We still Facebook, we still Google. But what if there are things that we don’t want company stop now? Take Ashley Madison. It was a dating site for affairs – and it was hacked, and all the information dumped online. To what extend is data from a light switch a privacy issue?

There are at least 30 baby monitors on sale that stream their information in an insecure way. There are examples of people intercepting the monitor traffic, and using it to scream into the baby’s room. The CIA have been clear: if your connected dishwasher is insecure, they’ll use it go spy on you.

There is no cloud. It’s just your stuff on someone else’s computer. Samsung shipped a TV a few years ago with a EULA that started that the voice control data was sent to a third party for analysis. They fixed the EULA, but not the analysis… (They’ve improved since then)

A manifesto for the Internet of things

We need a manifesto: the IoT Design Manifesto. It’s guidelines for responsible design in a connected world.

Personally, he doesn’t use connected objects in his home. He hasn’t found one he likes, and he’s uncomfortable with the intrusion into his personal space.