Mobility Live! 2015 Conference Reflections: IoT and Our Values

A few weeks ago we all laughed at the predictions made in Back to the Future II.  While attending this year’s Mobility Live! Conference in Atlanta, it was hard not to think of other forward-thinking technology predictions made by sci-fi movies all centered on a buzzword this year:  the Internet of Things.

  • Demolition Man (1993) whiffed on the three seashells challenge but came darn close with three different IoT concepts (voice activated appliances, biometric implants, and self-driving cars).
  • Government regulation is only a matter of time as legal questions about security and privacy are raised so that Skynet never becomes a reality like it did in Terminator (1984).
  • Total Recall (1990) portrayed a scary world of personalized digital marketing and JohnnyCab driverless cars.

A common thread across these movies – and a point raised again and again at the conference – was that ethics will become an expected part of IoT design. This sounds easy, but when thinking about self-driving vehicles (safety of drivers vs. pedestrians?), fingerprint identification on weapons, to product manufacturers who want to become service providers, IoT users want devices that have “correctly” solved these challenges.

Similarly, while companies will need IoT solutions that fit corporate strategy, most companies today across industries do not have a well-formed strategy on IoT – even though many have begun trials. While conference attendees predicted drones as part of the consumer’s everyday life within five years, IoT developers will need to dig into the depths of what it means to have an “acceptable” experience with an IoT object.

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