Science fiction is rapidly becoming science fact as advances in technology impact our daily lives in increasingly interesting—and intimate—ways. "Smart" devices already number far more than simply computers, tablets, and phones, and connectivity will soon be standard order on a host of new products—from cars to clothing. The resulting web of connected objects, apparel, appliances, and vehicles is being popularly termed "The Internet of Things."(For some related stats, check out this fact sheet.)
In fact, by 2025, projections on the Internet of Things reads a bit like a revolution. From Pew:
To a notable extent, the experts agree on the technology change that lies ahead, even as they disagree about its ramifications. Most believe there will be:
- A global, immersive, invisible, ambient networked computing environment built through the continued proliferation of smart sensors, cameras, software, databases, and massive data centers in a world-spanning information fabric known as the Internet of Things.
- "Augmented reality" enhancements to the real-world input that people perceive through the use of portable/wearable/implantable technologies.
- Disruption of business models established in the 20th century (most notably impacting finance, entertainment, publishers of all sorts, and education).
- Tagging, databasing, and intelligent analytical mapping of the physical and social realms.
While some advances are savvy and positive—like smartphone-controlled thermostats, for example, which can save energy and money—the integration of high-tech into everyday objects will mean that an analog oasis will soon be hard to find. If your car can check Facebook for you, if you can get text messages on your wristwatch, and if your jacket can hold your music library without an attached device (all coming in the very near future), how will the resulting distraction and digital presence impact our lives? Without a doubt, there will be profound pastoral and personal implications. How will you respond?