Internet of Broken Things [...]

Phrase coined by Ward Cunningham in 2014 denoting the coming disaster of Internet of Things incompatibility, bugginess, and security issues. The problem? We don’t own the pieces we think we do. The smart device is built on a substrate of constantly shifting licenses, end-user agreements, APIs, and marketing agreements.

This is how the internet of things will work. All the things will be interesting. We will think we own them because we will have bought them. But we won’t own all the pieces that give them utility.

The pieces will include some service that promised to provide value unless you read the fine print. Companies will be bought and sold. Databases will accumulate mistakes. Things will stop working. The compounding of complexity will make it in no ones interest to go fix the thing, even if it is just one line missing.

I’ve been asked why I run wires throughout my house to connect together sensors. Wouldn’t radio be better? Yes, but those sensors (and radios) still need power. I’d rather do without the weak link of anything that needs routine attention, even if just once a year.

See also Trash Crash

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